Henry Makow Ph.D. — henrymakow.com from June 29, 2003
In June 2003, Canada’s Privacy Commissioner George Radwanski was hounded from office amid a firestorm of allegations about expense account abuses. [Radwanski was acquitted of all criminal charges in 2009.]
Press hacks and politicians continued to nip at his heels accusing him of misleading parliament and “intimidating” his staff. One Member of Parliament suggested he deserved jail time or even execution.
Why such ferocity?
George Radwanski had been a valiant and eloquent opponent of the Canadian government’s new initiatives for repressive public surveillance. His courageous leadership is the reason he was tarred and feathered. The real scoundrels are the Canadian politicians and press who abjectly betrayed the public trust.
In January 2003, Radwanski warned Canadians that the government “regrettably has lost its moral compass.”
Although Canada hasn’t had a terrorist attack, planned initiatives will result in the loss “not only of privacy rights that we take for granted but also of … freedom as we now know it.”
He warned “September 11 is being invoked as a kind of magic incantation to stifle debate, disparage critical analysis and persuade us that we suddenly live in a new world where the old rules cannot apply.”
“The Government is doing all this in blatant, open and repeated disregard of the concerns that it is my duty to express…” Radwanski said. He revealed that American pressure was to blame, and urged Canadians to assert their sovereignty.
“The right of privacy is at the core of the basic freedoms of our society. Freedom of speech, of thought, of association, to name just a few, are grounded in the idea that we have a private sphere of thought and action that is our business and nobody else’s — not our neighbours’, not our employers’, not some telemarketer’s, and certainly not the state’s. In Canada today, that fundamental human right is under unprecedented assault.”
He foresaw the potential uses of surveillance for political repression. While only thousands march against globalization today, what if millions wanted to demonstrate in the future?
Radwanski compared the “war on terror” to Orwell’s “1984, “which takes place against the background of a mysterious chronic war in which it is never clear just who the enemy is or who is winning or losing.”
His office was becoming “an international leader in privacy protection” and a thorn in George Bush’s side. It focused opposition to the monitoring of communications, biometric passports and identity cards, video surveillance and genetic databases.
“My trips to the US enabled me to raise awareness among American decision-makers about Canada’s different approach to privacy rights,” Radwanski said in his resignation statement. “Several members of the US Congress expressed an interest in creating an American position of Privacy Commissioner along the Canadian model.”
This resignation statement has been removed from the Privacy Commission web site Soviet-style, Radwanski is already becoming a non-person.