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Canada's Pride: Liberty & Justice. Peace & willingness to serve citizens; guard Privacy vigorously, against misinformation...

By WcP.Observer - Posted on 13 November 2012

*update* March 19, 2013 US magazine calls Stephen Harper an ‘exceptional leader’, praising his leadership, his foreign policy and his stewardship of the economy coming out of the 2008 recession. National Review: "Stephen Harper, Canada’s PM, 'Leader of the West', 'a very disciplined politician'"
*update* Marketwire: "Proud to stand up for honest, hard-working Canadians against thieves and criminals". March 11, 2013, Canada announced "Bill C-26, the Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act, has come into force", committed to keeping our streets and communities safe", for Canadians to protect themselves against criminal acts and "the justice system is behind them, not against them", said Minister Nicholson. "Those who have been the victim of a crime should not be re-victimized by the criminal justice system." Canada "will continue to stand up for law-abiding Canadians."
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper walks with Hong Kong Veteran Arthur Kenneth Pifher, 91, in a Remembrance Day ceremony at Sai Wan War Cemetery in Hong Kong

Visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wife Laureen walk down the stairs with World War Two veterans at Sai Wan War Cemetery as they attend a Remembrance Day ceremony in Hong Kong

Ken Pifher, 91, marks Remembrance Day on November 11, 2012 at Sai Wan Cemetery in Hong Kong, the final resting place of nearly 300 Canadians killed defending the former British colony from Japanese invaders in 1941

*update* Marketwire March 11, 2013 - "Today, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, announced that Bill C-26, the Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act, has come into force." - "The Harper Government is committed to keeping our streets and communities safe. Canadians want to know that they are able to protect themselves against criminal acts and that the justice system is behind them, not against them," said Minister Nicholson. "Those who have been the victim of a crime should not be re-victimized by the criminal justice system."
"Our Government is proud to stand up for honest, hard-working Canadians against thieves and criminals", said Minister Kenney. "The so-called Lucky Moose Bill does this by reinforcing the right of business owners, like David Chen, to protect their property. Our Government will continue to stand up for law-abiding Canadians."

photo: Shopkeeper David Chen (centre) stands with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Ontario's Lieutenant Governor David Onley as he received a Diamond Jubilee Medal earlier this year. Chen, a Toronto grocer charged in 2009 but later acquitted for chasing down and detaining a shoplifter, prompted criminal code changes.

"New powers of citizen’s arrest came into force Monday that give people more leeway in nabbing criminals. The Citizen’s Arrest and Self-defence Act no longer requires a person to catch a suspect red-handed, but allows for the apprehension within a reasonable amount of time after a crime. The law allows people to make a citizens’ arrest of someone who has committed a crime on their property or in relation to their personal possessions when it’s not feasible for a police officer to make an arrest. Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says Canadians want to know they are able to protect themselves from crime and not be re-victimized by the criminal justice system.

Stephen Harper honours Canada's fallen at Hong Kong Remembrance Day ceremony, paid tribute Sunday to Canada’s fallen soldiers at the place where Canadians fought valiantly in one of the most famous battles of the World War II. Under cloudy skies, Harper came to the Sai Wan Bay War Cemetery, where 283 Canadians are buried" (the ceremony honored the 1,975 Canadian soldiers who fought to defend Hong Kong during the WWII and remembered over 550 Canadian soldiers who died in the battle). By their deaths, they made possible the freedom we enjoy, the democracy by which we govern ourselves and the justice under which we live," said Harper. ‘These are the flowers that flourish upon their graves." It was 71 years ago that the Canadians defended themselves against a Japanese attack (shortly after 08:00 on 8 December 1941, less than 8 hours after the Attack on Pearl Harbor)in the Battle of Hong Kong, which was then a British colony. In total, 290 Canadians died in the battle and 493 were wounded ("the 1,975 Canadian soldiers, every single soldier was either killed, wounded or taken prisoner.").

For survivors of the battle, life in Japanese prisoner of war labor camps for the next three and a half years was brutal. They were beaten, tortured and underfed, and ultimately 267 POWs died. In total, there had been 1,975 Canadians sent to Hong Kong - which meant the battle’s casualty rate was one of the highest suffered by Canada during the war. There are fewer than 50 Canadian veterans still alive from the Hong Kong battle. One of them, 91-year-old Ken Pifher, was at Sunday’s ceremony, where he sat next to Harper and lay a wreath at a monument. Pifher survived the battle but was imprisoned by the Japanese - an experience he will never forget.

"It’s hell in a basket," he told reporters about his time as a POW. "Just hell. The basic situation was starvation. They would not feed us properly. And also the slaps and the kicks. And diphtheria at the camp." Pifher, of Grimsby, Ont. has now returned to the cemetery five times over the past few decades. "There’s a lot of history and lot of my boys, the friends, that are here."

Harper's formal comments marking Remembrance Day broke from the tradition in which prime ministers are usually at Ottawa’s National War Memorial on Nov. 11 to quietly participate in a wreath-laying ceremony where no speeches are delivered. As he gazed down on the rows of headstones on the slopes of a hill, Harper said the ceremony - and those occurring back in Canada - must be something more than just a "solemn reminder of dear ones lost." "It must call all Canadians to look beyond our sorrow," said the prime minister. "It asks us to honor in our lives, at all times, what our forebears won by their deaths and to protect and preserve the peace they left to us." "There is no more that we can do for them than this."

In his speech, Harper noted that all across Canada, citizens were honoring the soldiers who had died in past conflicts.
And he urged Canadians to remember the dead as they were when they were alive: "Canadians from across our great land, born of it or brought to it - young and bold, drawn together by their willingness to serve their fellow citizens. So it has been for 200 years."

Harper described the Canadians who mounted a "bloody defense" in the Hong Kong battle as "courageous". The attack on Hong Kong occurred on Dec. 8, 1941 just 8 hours after the Japanese shocked US with its bombing of the naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The 1,975 soldiers from the Royal Rifles of Canada, based in Quebec, and the Winnipeg Grenadiers had arrived in Hong Kong just three weeks prior to the attack. Once the battle began, it was clear that they were vastly outnumbered, as Japanese aircraft destroyed the few Royal Air Force planes at the airport, and as the well-armed Japanese ground forces pressed ahead. The Canadians refused to surrender and held off the Japanese in a 17-day battle. Finally, with no hope of victory, the Canadians surrendered on Christmas Day, 1941. The surviving Canadian, British and Hong Kong soldiers were brought to labor camps and forced to work in mines or dockyards, toiling 12 hours a day on daily rations of just 800 calories.
The POW survivors, many of whom were skeletal in appearance by the end of the war ("They tied our hands together with barbed wire. A lot of boys that fell and couldn't walk because they were wounded so badly, they were cut loose and bayoneted right there."), experienced years of bad health and only recently received an official apology from Japan, which "they have refused to give over 70 years...

After 70 years, on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, "the apology was issued in Tokyo by Toshiyuki Kat, Japan's parliamentary vice-minister for foreign affairs.". MacDonell, originally from Edmonton, spent four years as a PoW in Japan, subjected to what he described as "slave labour" in a shipyard, and later in Japanese mines deep underground. He and the other PoWs living in a constant state of near-starvation and malnutrition.

About 267 Canadians died in the PoW camps from starvation, malnutrition and abuse. That type of treatment was typical in nations captured by the Japanese during the Second World War, MacDonell said, adding that until now Japan has refused to acknowledge its brutal past. "The Japanese have denied this for 70 years and have done everything they can to keep their young people from knowing what happened during this period," said MacDonell. He added: "I don't think they can go on and be a healthy culture by hiding this terrible past of theirs.

HONG KONG - Canadians should live their lives worthy of the freedom, democracy and justice they enjoy as a tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending those values, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Sunday. Harper marked Remembrance Day at the Sai Wan Bay military cemetery where 283 Canadian soldiers are buried on a grassy, tree-fringed slope overlooking the skyscrapers of bustling Hong Kong. "It lies within us to do this: We can walk worthy of the lives that they laid down for us," Harper said to a group of about 300 officials and onlookers. "They have given their lives to make possible the freedom that we enjoy, the democracy by which we govern ourselves, and the justice under which we live." Harper, his wife Laureen and a long list of parliamentarians and local dignitaries placed wreaths at the base of the Sai Wan memorial. A local children’s choir sang the Canadian and Chinese national anthems.

The battle of Hong Kong was one of the most catastrophic episodes in Canadian military history. The 1,975 Canadian troops from the Winnipeg Grenadiers and the Royal Rifles of Canada, who had received little combat training, were vastly outnumbered by the tens of thousands of Japanese soldiers that descended on the city in the hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. They managed to hold off the Japanese for nearly three weeks, with the vast majority of the brigade surrendering on Christmas Day. Nearly 300 were killed, and the rest sent to prisoner of war camps where they were subjected to torture, starvation and forced labour at the hands of their captors (Donald Geraghty, of the Royal Rifles of Canada, described the barracks of Sham Shui Po as the "filthiest thing I've ever seen in my live. No wonder the English are dying." Corporal Lucien Brunet of the Canadian Postal Corps added: "I ate with chop sticks. I had a spoon and fork, but you know the reason why I ate with chop sticks? It took me longer to eat my meal that way ..."). Another 267 died before liberation in 1945, and those who returned home bore the physical and psychological scars for the rest of their lives.
Ken Pifher of Grimsby travelled to Hong Kong for Sunday’s ceremony. The 91-year-old walked next to Harper past the rows upon rows of gravestones to the main memorial at a plateau on the hill. He had given Harper a letter of encouragement that former prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King had sent POWs during the war. Pifher, who served with the Royal Rifles of Canada as a private, described how the men in the camps got through all those years..."But we knew things were going well because of the planes going over and also for a while there was a radio in camp, until they found it and it was confiscated. The people who they found it with were beaten. That was normal and their way of treating POWs."

Protect liberty and justice as tribute to their fallen soldiers. And so they do -

As Canadians, we rightly place a very high value on our privacy. As a career police officer, I have spent much of my life ensuring that my actions and those of the officers under my command do not intrude into the privacy of others, unless authorized by law and in pursuit of those who threaten, harm or steal from others. Do police in Canada support "unwarranted Internet surveillance" or "snooping"? Canada’s chiefs of police: Absolutely not!

While all new laws should be subject to rigorous debate, I worry that the misinformation surrounding the proposed Bill C-30 "Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act" is distracting us from the true goal of this bill - protecting victims by updating laws last introduced by Parliament in 1974.

At that time, telecommunications consisted of rotary phones, telegraphs and physical lines of wire. A technology revolution has seen the rapid adoption of mobile devices, computers and social media - an evolution of technology not envisaged by lawmakers back in the 1970s.

Canadians reap many benefits from today’s technologies. So do criminals. We have inadvertently created safe havens for those who exploit technology to traffic in weapons, drugs and people. It is a boon to pedophile networks, money launderers, extortionists, deceitful telemarketers, fraudsters and terrorists. Cyber bullies communicate their vitriol with impunity. If we stand by and do nothing, criminals will continue to use these interactive platforms to harass and threaten others, commit frauds, scams and organized and violent crimes with little fear of being caught.

I enthusiastically agree that privacy is a right to cherish and guard vigorously. We believe that the new legislation, with our recommended amendments to strengthen privacy rights, will help make Canada a safer place. To level the playing field for law enforcement, successive federal governments introduced updated lawful access legislation in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. All of these bills "died on the order paper." In the meantime, the threats to individuals and community are increasing. The current proposed legislation includes the following assurances/improvements:
Access to private information will continue to require a judicial authorization (warrant).
Telecommunications providers will be required to preserve data while a warrant is being obtained.
Basic subscriber information (the equivalent to information provided by a telephone directory) will be obtainable in a timely and consistent manner. As opposed to today’s environment, the new legislation builds in an audit trail to ensure accountability (including making available reporting to the judiciary and privacy commissioners) and to limit those within policing who can make such a request.
What is the cost of not proceeding with the modernization of our laws? Organized criminals will plan their killings and kidnappings using communications providers whose systems do not have the technical ability to be monitored through the warrant process. Terrorists will be able to exploit these same gaps. Victims of scams will be told that the evidence trail linking the suspect to the crime has disappeared because the service provider has no obligation to preserve data.

Perhaps even worse, the parents of a child who has been lured or criminally harassed over the Internet will learn that the police investigation will be delayed or completely unsuccessful because of the need to obtain a warrant for basic subscriber information. The RCMP’s National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre looked at a sample of 1,244 requests for basic subscriber information in 2010. The average response time to gain such information was 12 days. This is unacceptable.
The challenge of Bill C-30 is to strike the right balance between providing law enforcement with investigative tools to ensure individual and public safety while ensuring the protection of privacy. We support the greater protections which have been built into this bill. It is illegal for police to randomly snoop on Canadians. This does not change with the new legislation.
Can the bill be improved? Absolutely, and we support a provision to clarify privacy rights. Do police in Canada support "unwarranted Internet surveillance" or "snooping"? Absolutely not!
Parliament has the opportunity to bring law enforcement powers into the 21st century. Canadian police chiefs have spoken up in the name of the victims of crime we encounter every day. If the laws are not modernized, I assure Canadians we will still do our jobs to the best of our ability, but there will be less policing capacity, fewer cases prosecuted, more victims of crime, and more unsolved cases. Criminals will like that.
Will you?
Chief Constable Jim Chu is the president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.

*update* Dec. 12, 2012
Lessons in Spending, Regulations and Debt: Canada is beating the U.S. at its own game - economic freedom. The United States has long been known as the “Land of the Free.” Yet, according to the newly released Economic Freedom of the World: 2012 Annual Report, Canada now ranks 13 spots ahead of the U.S.—the largest gap in the history of the Index Over the last 10-20 years, the U.S. and Canada have pursued very different policies with regard to economic freedom. The United States has become increasingly bogged down by, among other things, excessive government spending, massive debt and growth-stifling regulations. Canada, on the other hand, has cut spending and avoided the labyrinth of regulations that the US has imposed.

As a result, Canada experienced higher than average economic growth throughout the 2000s, was less hurt by the financial crisis than the U.S. and has recovered more quickly in its aftermath. Furthermore, economic growth in Canada has been higher than that of the U.S. every year of the 2000s, except 2003 and 2004. Unemployment in Canada has been less severe as well. During the financial crisis, Canadian unemployment peaked at 8.3 percent compared to 10 percent in the U.S. Furthermore, Canada’s unemployment rate has also decreased to near pre-recession levels. In the meantime, unemployment in the U.S. has remained stubbornly above 8% — almost twice the pre-recession level—for almost 40 months since the “end of the recession.”

Economic Freedom: Vital for All On Nov. 28, 2012 the Canada-based Fraser Institute released the eighth edition of its annual report, Economic Freedom of North America 2012, in which the respective economic situation and government regulatory factors present in the states and provinces of North America were gauged.

Nov. 28, 2012 - A new study on economic freedom in North America has concluded that some American states are less free than the provinces of our northern neighbor Canada “Canadian provinces now lead US states in average economic freedom, with the provincial average at 6.8 compared to 6.7 out of 10 for US states,” claims the new study by the Fraser Institute.

Topping the list of the most economically free subdivisions of North American countries is the Canadian province of Alberta, followed by Delaware, Saskatchewan, Texas and Nevada.

*update* Marketwire March 11, 2013 "Today, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, announced that Bill C-26, the Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act, has come into force." - "The Harper Government is committed to keeping our streets and communities safe. Canadians want to know that they are able to protect themselves against criminal acts and that the justice system is behind them, not against them," said Minister Nicholson. "Those who have been the victim of a crime should not be re-victimized by the criminal justice system." "Our Government is proud to stand up for honest, hard-working Canadians against thieves and criminals", said Minister Kenney. "The so-called Lucky Moose Bill does this by reinforcing the right of business owners, like David Chen, to protect their property. Our Government will continue to stand up for law-abiding Canadians."

*update* March 11, 2013
US magazine calls Stephen Harper an ‘exceptional leader’?Over the past couple of years, there have been numerous op-ed pieces in U.S. newspapers praising his leadership, his foreign policy and his stewardship of the economy coming out of the 2008 recession.

In the current edition of the National Review — the bi-weekly founded by William F. Buckley Jr. in 1955 — the editors call Canada "the best governed country in the North America" and call Stephen Harper an "exceptional leader"??? a breath of fresh air from the west"??

“tion than virtually any other country. Harper has cut taxes repeatedly, able to boast to Canadians that they enjoy “the lowest federal tax burden since John Diefenbaker was prime minister.” (That was during the Eisenhower and Kennedy years.) The government indulged in deficit spending, when the financial crisis hit, and now they are about $21 billion in the hole. But they expect to be in balance in 2015. Forbes magazine ranks Canada the best G-8 country in which to do business. The corporate tax there is famously low — 15 percent, down from 21 percent when Harper and the Conservatives took over.“

“Paul Ryan cited Canada’s kindness to business in the vice-presidential debate last fall: Why can’t we be more like Canada?“?


Photos courtesy Kin Cheung / The Associated Press, David Akin / QMI Agency, Reuters / Bobby Yip, and Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press

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