Oh, what a vile and pernicious person I've become. More troubling still, I didn't even know I'd particularly changed.
Not long ago, the things I feared most about growing older had to do with losing whatever mental faculties I could lay claim to. Thoughts of Alzheimer's mortified me whenever I couldn't find my keys, wallet, grocery list, or sense of humour. The sense of humour thing really scared me because I vividly recall a brain study a decade or so ago that found men's brains shrink as we age, leaving us more and more humourless and, if possible, even dumber than we'd been most of our lives, two conditions that would render me incapable of making even a meager living.
But now, in rapid succession, seemingly overnight, I've awakened to discover I'm a traitor to my adopted country, a radical environmental terrorist and now — horrors — a child pornographer... or at least someone who stands alongside them, perhaps peeking over their shoulders at the disgusting, salacious pictures I must now find somehow irresistible.
If I'd have known Harpo's Conservative star chamber was going to get so personal maybe I'd have voted for John Weston. I mean, I can imagine voting for him. If his opponent had been a traitorous, radical terrorist, kiddie pornographer I would have considered voting Conservative, at least until I found out I was one too.
The Cons think I'm a Taliban sympathizer and traitor because I hoped they'd treat Afghan detainees the way Canada — the old Canada — agreed to when it signed on to the Geneva Conventions. They figure I'm a radical environmental terrorist because I favour the old school rule of law that suggests we hold open, transparent, unbiased public hearings before we sell what's left of our souls and ethical oil to Chinese energy companies. And now, because I believe in that same, outdated rule of law and something as quaint as due process, I stand foursquare with kiddie pornsters. I expect any day now I'm going to start kicking crutches out from under aging pensioners and disabled veterans.
According to Vic Toews, Canada's Public Safety Minister — how can you argue with the symbolic imagery of being the minister of everyone's safety — I'm either in favour of letting his government, through its many policing agencies, violate what we all used to think of as our constitutional right to privacy or I stand with the child pornographers, and presumably other miscreants, he's hoping to put behind bars.
At issue is a piece of legislation introduced Tuesday called the Lawful Access bill. Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? What it does is currently unlawful, but as Joseph Goebbels so artfully pointed out, language is power and the only good lie is a big lie. The Lawful Access legislation will require ISPs to store — they already do — information on their customers' Internet activity and make it available to the government and police forces. Police, but presumably not government, will need a warrant to get the data but no warrant would be needed to obtain your IP address, email address, cellphone number and other information you thought was nobody's business but yours.