Column: Murky times could be ahead

The Senate was expected to vote yesterday on Bill C-51.

The Senate was expected to vote yesterday on Bill C-51.

If the majority of the senators agreed with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s draconian legislation, we could be living in a different kind of Canada than the one we know now.

In his zeal to protect us against terrorists, the PM came up with a lulu of a bill that is so broad and so lacking in oversight that in the worst scenario it could be used against innocent citizens.

We  could end up living in a police state.

No, I’m not being paranoid. Four former prime ministers, a number of former justices, the Canadian Law Society, privacy commissioners and thousands of Canadians have protested this  bill.

Probably more people would be upset about it if they knew what was in it. If it passes there is no doubt it will be challenged in court. The federal government track record so far is two wins to seven losses with the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Senate itself is in some disarray with 30 members of that august body targetted by the Auditor General for not respecting the rules and for being too fond of dipping into the public purse.

The AG’s report was to be made public yesterday, too. Hopefully the senators were able to give sober second thought to Bill C-51.

***

The Atlantic Power Corporation is hosting a meeting at the Cariboo Memorial Complex next Wednesday to give the public the chance to learn about and comment on the company’s  need to burn more railway ties at its biomass-fuelled electricity generation plant here in the lakecity.

The storage and burning of railway ties was a hot issue here a few years ago. At that  time, as I remember it, residents of the Williams Lake valley were opposed to the process, mainly because they feared toxic emissions from burning the creosote-treated ties would pollute the air.

That issue will no doubt be on the agenda at next week’s s meeting.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.

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