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For those in you in Canada worried about the possibility of bill C-51 bringing on a police state in your country let me introduce you to the reality in the streets of Montréal,in your country. The Canadian Police state isn’t coming, its here. Its been tested on the streets of Québec and it is ready for export to your town or city. Your first glimpse of your new reality may come in the form of police Kettling. Let me explain.
Your marching down the street of your town. Maybe you don’t want a pipeline going through your backyard, maybe you don’t want more government cuts to social programs jeopardizing your children’s future, whatever motivates you. You could be with your children ,your grandfather and a large peaceful group of your friends. But wait you don’t have the permission of your town’s police to march. This permission is granted, or not, by your local police. They need give you no reason for refusing and there is no appeal. So lets say you feel that your cause is to important to let city hall bureaucracy get in the way. You’re a peaceful, responsible citizen. You’re obviously not a threat or a terrorist. So you begin your march.
Hundreds of armored police will surround you and your friends while you march. They will then charge you at full speed, slamming riot batons on their shields like roman legionaries. They will smash into you and keep compressing you into a rough circle. They do this by by clubbing you with batons,violently shoulder blocking you with their shields. Many of these police are the size of CFL players and are armored and padded from head to foot, and still carrying firearms. You may find some of them pointing menacing looking weapons at your head and face, but don’t worry. These are “less than lethal”weapons which ,as we have learned, will likely only take out an eye, break half your jaw, or leave you in a coma for a few days.
Everyone is then held with no further explanation on the street, literally the police in the circle around, you will not acknowledge you or speak to you. If you approach them they are
likely to violently surge at you, club you repeatedly until you stumble back bloodied. You will have no food water or access to bathrooms So from 2- 5 or more hour you will be forcibly held in these conditions. At some point a vague and incomprehensible text will be read to you by loudspeaker informing you as to the reason for your group arrest experience. You, and hundreds of your friends will then have all your possesions taken from you and put in bags. The police will the thoughtfully give you a free pair of plastic cuffs. Your adventure in modern democracy isnt over yet. You will be treated to a free long distance bus ride in from your local transit authority, possibly ending at the most remote police station your town has to offer in the early hours of the morning.
You get to keep your exiting police plastic cuffs for the many more hours it will take to process. Now if you start to feel impatient at this point remember there are 100’s of you and it takes time to, illegally photograph you return your confiscated belongings. The police then write you what amounts in legal terms to a 700$ parking ticket for violating the P-6 municipal bylaw. You are not provided with a free bus ride home. And for all this excitement you have to do no more than participate peacefully in any march they consider illegal
And don’t worry that the illegal mug shot being the only souvenir of your Kettlle experience. The police will also deploy photographers and vidoegrahers .To film and photograph you and your friends throughout your entire day , while you gather, as you march.. This is to facilitate the targeting and profiling of individuals. Not because you have committed criminal acts but because you might be an organizer. Your police will have a book filled with pictures and descriptions of individuals to be subjected to targeted arrests. And don’t worry you’ll get copies to take home, after being run through high end image recognition software so they can pinpoint you in every photo and video clip, as the proof of your offense. Not only police footage but everything their agents can scour off You tube and mainstream media. Have a nice march.
The government is counting on you’re ignorance of the fact that if you attend a rally to save your local forest you have likely been observed, identified and added to the list of « multi-issue extremists ». Since 2007 the RCMP and other security services started referring to activists very deliberately in this way. A peaceful march or banner drop is a « non violent attack strategy ». This is a very deliberate move to be able to easily define those who protest or are socially active within the bounds of the Harper governments anti-terror laws. A non – exhaustive list of groups already deemed a threat and monitored by RCMP would include Idle No More, ForestEthics, Sierra Club, EcoSociety, LeadNow, Dogwood Initiative, Council of Canadians and the People’s Summit, according to documents obtained under FOI requests by Professors Kevin Walby and Jeffrey Monaghan. Documents they obtained further stated that
“The Canadian law enforcement and security intelligence community have noted a growing radicalized faction of environmentalists who advocate the use of criminal activity to promote the protection of the natural environment,” “It is highly probable that environmentalists will continue to mount direct actions targeting Canada’s energy sector, specifically the petroleum sub-sector and the fossil and nuclear fueled electricity generating facilities, with the objectives of: influencing government energy policy, interfering within the energy regulatory process and forcing the energy industry to cease its operations that harm the environment,”
If, gentle reader, you found this disturbing then this next part should truly terrify you.
The Federal government security services, the RCMP and CSIS, has been on the ground in Québec since well before the start of the student strike in 2012. In 2010 the RCMP under their Integrated National Security Enforcement Team program, arrested four members of the ASSÉ a month after peaceful sit ins in the offices of the minister of finance and the minister. they where interrogated by the RCMP and CSIS. They where charged with offenses to do with allegedly breaking some furniture and an accusation of roughing up a secretary. But when the crown turned over the proof to the ASSÉ members lawyer according to Gabriel Naduea Dubois, recent winner of the Governor General of Canada’s award for literature for his book on the student strike, ” it was obvious that they must have been listening to our phone calls..reading our emails for months.”
So the federal government was targeting a Québec students two years before they went on strike ,so police in Québec arent gentle with demonstrators,so what? The RCMP INSET group that targeted them has branches in every city in Canada. It provides in the words of Asst. Commissioner Gilles Michaud the man who started the program after attending the FBI academy in Quantico Virginia seamless RCMP run integration of your local police force with, CSIS, Border Security,National Defense Intelligence, and the Canadian Securoty Establishment. This former part of the Canadian forces has had budget increases on the order of 400%. American homeland security is also included under the security arrangements made immediately after 9\11. There is no doubt these teams are at this moment monitoring groups in every province in the country. The police tactics seen in Montréal have been passed on . Ian Lafreiniere the spokesman for the Montréal police bragged to me that they” trained forces from all over Canada,”. Transforming police who serve a vital function in social peaceinto a tool for political repression, will havenegative consequences that are hard to forsee. The P-6 bylaw, or whatever they call the bylaw in your town that was intended to quell legitimately dangerous and violent hockey riots and the like, is a municipal infraction. Because you’re not considered a criminal,despite your violent treatment, you are not even entitled to legal aid or the same protections applied to criminal offenses.
The new bill C-51 will introduce many of these tactics at a federal level so we can enjoy them all over Canada. These include the laying of restrictive conditions to prevent free association and movement And they have learned from their experience so far. one of their greatest problems arises from the new independent and social media. So Bill C-51 includes provisions in it that might make reporting of activist actions “glorifying Terorrism”.
It is the use of these terms to refer to what we traditionally call activists, coupled with the language of the new legislation is a hand and glove fit to repress anyone the government finds unhelpful to their agenda. Be it resource extraction, or destroying whats left of Canada’s social covenant. Together with the policing tactics they have been working to perfect on the streets of Montréal none of us will recognize our society unless we act now, forcefully, and together.
Because my fellow citizens we are not in danger of becoming a repressive police state. We are already there.