Preserving Our Civil Liberties

Written by Harold McNeill on July 8th, 2011. Posted in Editorials


Preserving Our Civil Liberties

July 7, 2011: Closure of the British Tabloid “News of the World”

The demise of the 168-year-old British paper that held a readership of nearly three million, all over a ‘mobile phone – internet hacking’ scandal, was a bit of overkill when compared to the attack on our civil liberties by our own governments over the past decade. In the case of News of the World a high price will now be paid by the thousands of dedicated, honest workers all because of a few dishonest people at high levels, including the owner’s son, James Murdock.

It is reported Murdock closed the paper because he wanted to protect his reputation (and that of his father, Rupert) as well “protecting” other money making schemes he currently has on the table.  I have little sympathy for Murdock and for those who cheat and scheme in order to make an extra dollar, what hurts is seeing all those jobs taken away from thousands of honest workers who toiled at the paper.

While the allegations against a few reporters and senior administrators at World News was serious and needed to be addressed, the transgressions were positively minor compared to the widespread intrusions on civil liberties conducted by various government security organziations around the world.

In North America the Department Homeland Security in the United States and, to a lesser extent, CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) in Canada, have gained immense power over the past decade, powers to which the broad spectrum of media have paid scant attention. One could easily make the case the media in general have played hand maiden to the government in these matters.

The US “Patriot Act” (even the name seems carefully chosen to help prevent critcism), originally passed after the 911 attacks, was renewed in February 2011 after house Republicans gained a majority. Within peacetime, democratic counties the Patriot Act is one of the most draconian and invasive pieces of legislation ever passed and this was done with barely a word of complaint from the Media.

While Canada’s Anti-Terrorist Act was also recently renewed, it is only slightly less invasive than the US Patriot Act. This is of little comfort as the US Govenment, having gained several reciprocal agreements with Canada, is given considerable access to sensitive information about Canadians held in both US based electronic databases and, many suspect, to databases held solely in Canada.

The US and Canadian Governments, Media and Corporations have done an excellent job over the past decade of creating a level fear about ‘terrorism’ that has allowed this almost limitless (and warrantless) surveillance of ordinary citizens on the thinest of pretext. This rapidly expanding erosion of civil liberties is something about which we all need to be concerned.

Please take some time to do some background reading on the subject and then express your concerns on FB, by other social media and to you Member of Parliament if you value the freedoms for which our ancestors paid such a high price over the last century.

Harold McNeill
Kamloops, BC

Note: I was not one of the subscribers to News of the World and have heard it was a sensationalist and sleezy tabloid, never-the-less, three million folks subscribed and it lasted for 168 years – longer than any other ‘news’ type paper.

 

 

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Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    February 28, 2022 |

    Hi Robert, I do remember some of those folks from my early years in Cold Lake (Hazel was my aunt and our family spent many fond times with Uncle Melvin, Aunt Hazel and Family. I knew Lawrence and Adrian. Having read a half dozen accounts it is clear their were many false narratives and, perhaps, a few truths along the way. I tried my best to provide an even account from what I read. Cheers, Harold. (email: Harold@mcneillifestories.com)

  • Robert Martineau

    February 25, 2022 |

    Its been a long time since any post here, but its worth a shot. My Grandfather was Hazel Wheelers brother Lawrence, and son to Maggie and Adrien. Maggie Martineau (nee Delaney) is my great grandmother. The books and articles to date are based on the white mans viewpoint and the real story as passed down by the Elders in my family is much more nefarious. Some of the white men were providing food for the Indians in exchange for sexual favors performed by the Squaws. Maggie was the product of one of those encounters. Although I am extremely proud of my family and family name, I am ashamed about this part of it.

  • Julue

    January 28, 2022 |

    Good morning Harold!
    Gosh darn it, you are such a good writer. I hope you have been writing a book about your life. It could be turned into a movie.
    Thanks for this edition to your blog.
    I pray that Canadians will keep their cool this weekend and next week in Ottawa. How do you see our PM handling it? He has to do something and quick!
    Xo Julie

  • Herb Craig

    December 14, 2021 |

    As always awesome job Harold. It seems whatever you do in life the end result is always the same professional, accurate, inclusive and entertaining. You have always been a class act and a great fellow policeman to work with. We had some awesome times together my friend. I will always hold you close as a true friend. Keep up the good work. Hope to see you this summer.
    Warm regards
    Herb Craig

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Hi Dorthy, So glad you found those stories and, yes, they hold many fond memories. Thanks to social media and the blog, I’ve been able to get in touch with many friends from back in the day. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Well, well. Pleased to see your name pop up. I’m in regular contact via FB with many ‘kids’ from back in our HS days (Guy, Dawna, Shirley and others). Also, a lot of Cold Lake friends through FB. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Oh, that is many years back and glad you found the story. I don’t have any recall of others in my class other than the Murphy sisters on whose farm my Dad and Mom worked.

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Pleased to hear from you Howie and trust all is going well. As with you, I have a couple of sad stories of times in my police career when I crossed paths with Ross Barrington Elworthy. Just haven’t had the time to write those stories.

  • Howie Siegel

    November 25, 2021 |

    My only fight at Pagliacci’s was a late Sunday night in 1980 (?) He ripped the towel machine off the bathroom wall which brought me running. He came after me, I grabbed a chair and cracked him on the head which split his skull and dropped him. I worried about the police finding him on the floor. I had just arrived from Lasqueti Island and wasn’t convinced the police were my friends. I dragged him out to Broad and Fort and left him on the sidewalk, called the cops. They picked him up and he never saw freedom again (as far as I know). I found out it was Ross Elworthy.

  • Herbert Plain

    November 24, 2021 |

    Just read you article on Pibroch excellent. My Dad was Searle Grain company agent we move there in 1942/3 live in town by the hall for 5 years than moved one mile east to the farm on the corner where the Pibroch road meets Hwy 44. Brother Don still lives there. I went to school with you and Louise.