The Police State comes to Canada
I wish I was astonished by this story, but I'm not. The police in Calgary have raided a private home to take a computer in order to shut down a web site. This web site was not distributing child pornography, bomb-making instructions or hate literature -- it was a site critical of the Calgary police force and its chief, Jack Beaton. I haven't been able to find material from the site or even determine its name, so I can't claim they haven't been knowingly fabricating their stories, but their mission statement sounds relatively benign:
We are the police, the communications officers, the administration staff and other police service members and employees that either have been the victims of tyranny, politics, harassment, bullying, racism, constructive termination, etc., or we know someone who has.Here's how Craig Burrows, a city alderman on the police commision, justifies the action:
I think any time you go after the morale of a service or the morale of a city that takes pride in its service, the chief has a right to act.Craig, if you want to live in a culture without all this 'negative' freedom of speech, move to Iran. This kind of action would fit right in there. But in a Western democracy, criticism of public institutions is permitted. Hey! There are even some people who think it's a good thing!
I'm afraid we live in a culture today where you can say anything you want about people, as negative as it is, and you don't think you can be held accountable. I think our chief is just basically ensuring that, moving forward, if you're going to say something that's going to affect the reputation of the service and officers, you have to have evidence to support that claim.
This website collected stories. Everyone knows that stories are not always true. Newspapers print stories that may be false all the time -- simply by quoting others' claims. But by moving in so forcefully to shut down a dissident voice, all I can conclude is that those stories about the Calgary force are frighteningly accurate.
UPDATE: Again via Nealenews, I was able to take a look at a cached copy of the offending site. (A more recent cache is here, but it has less content.) The site
is was called Code 200 and seems pretty tame to me. People with gripes about the force created a web page to draw attention to their complaints. It hadn't even attracted much traffic; there were only about 7000 hits when the plug was pulled. But I'm sure their stories will now get much more coverage -- thanks to the Gestapo tactics of the Calgary Police Chief...
UPDATE II: I notice Nealenews has taken the link to the cached site down. From the CBC article:
A sweeping gag order issued at the same time prevents anyone from talking about the case or reading documents related to it, which have been sealed.I'm not breaking the law again, am I? What's going on in this country?