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Warrentless Wiretapping Comes to Canada – Canadian Media Censored

Warrentless Wiretapping Comes to Canada – Canadian Media Censored

In the United States, warrantless wiretapping has effectively become legalized for now. In Canada on the other hand, a wiretap without court approval is virtually unheard of. This is precisely what happened during a protest.

In a dramatic turn of events, it has been revealed that a wiretap was issued on several protestors of the Mohawk tribe in Canada who were protesting poverty. The news story was leaked yesterday on Wikileaks in part because of a media ban on the subject.

According to the discussion page prosecutors were trying to ban the entire story from the media, but ultimately failed to do so. From the discussion page:

shortly after 5pm, lawyers for the CBC and Mr. Brant appeared before the same Appeals judge, along with Crown counsel. After substantial submissions, the judge lifted her earlier stay and dismissed the stay application altogether, ordering the publication ban lifted once more.

The appeal may go ahead in due course, but the media are at present free to publish all the evidence heard at the preliminary inquiry.

As reported briefly today, this decision makes crucial evidence available to public scrutiny for the first time. The preliminary inquiry dealt with charges arising from Mr. Brant’s participation in two highway and rail blockades held by Tyendinaga Mohawks in 2007 to pressure the government to resolve longstanding land claim and poverty-related grievances.

The documents include wiretap transcripts that feature OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino telling Mohawk protest leader Shawn Brant in a telephone conversation that, “your whole world’s going to come crashing down” and threatening to “do everything I can within your community and everywhere to destroy your reputation” during the blockade which took place on June 29th, 2007, on the AFN’s National Day of Action.

Since the media ban has been, at present, lifted, the CBC reported on the incident:

The documents include wiretap transcripts that feature Fantino telling Brant in a telephone conversation that “your whole world’s going to come crashing down” and threatening to “do everything I can within your community and everywhere to destroy your reputation” during the tense standoff between police and aboriginal protesters at blockade sites in eastern Ontario.

Rosenthal also said the tap on Brant’s cellphone was made without obtaining a court order. Rosenthal said while the Criminal Code allows for wiretaps without a court order in extreme situations, there was plenty of notice given about the day of action last year.

In short, the law enforcement in charge of keeping the situation calm ordered a wiretap on the protesters without a court order. It’s unlikely that the public will treat this aspect lightly because it puts into serious question just how far law enforcement is willing to go. In a country where privacy is of greater concern then in other countries, one might expect some form of outrage at some point in the near future.

This isn’t the first time Canada had to deal with overreaching surveillance. In 2006, the Canadian Liberal party tabled surveillance legislation that would get internet service providers to essentially spy on their own customers among other things. Back then, the Canadian Bar Association denounced (PDF) the legislation. Ultimately, the legislation died on the order paper.

Speculation on the latest wiretapping puts into serious question how often police enforcement will actually put in place a wiretap on someone without court approval. In the United States, when the warrantless wiretapping was deemed unconstitutional, it was, in part, what set the wheels in motion to push surveillance laws in the government which, more recently, passed (though many consumer rights organizations are now suing the government instead of the ISPs at this point in an effort to strike down the law)

Whether or not this recent wiretap will spark wiretapping legislation in the government is another story – though it is notable that this is generally what happened in the United States. Either way, it would be far more difficult to get warrantless wiretapping in Canada – though it doesn’t make the recent warrantless wiretap any less controversial. To add insult to injury, it doesn’t help much when Canadian media outlets were additionally censored as well.

Jorge A. Gonzalez
Founder of ZeroPaid.com and various other websites. Follow me on your favorite social network. Twitter | Google Plus
mountain_rage
mountain_rage

Personally I don't think many people will care about this wiretapping as most people are pissed off at the antics of these aboriginal leaders. Quite frankly you hear so much about these land claims and other complaints that no one gives a shit anymore. There's always request from aboriginals to the government but never an attempt to be accountable for their own actions. So until there is some accountability on reserves no one will care about the complaints of aboriginal people.

mungopw
mungopw

such ignorance THIS IS INDIAN LAND!!!

DrewWilson
DrewWilson

It's interesting to me that people are more concerned about how no one cares about indian land claims more than the fact that a Canadian was wiretapped without court approval. To me it doesn't make a difference if it was an indian protester fighting for something that a number of people are tired of hearing about or a protester trying to stop the Canadian DMCA. I am willing to bet more people would care if Michael Geist had his phone tapped without court approval. It's a sad point that I can see at this point but it seems relatively true.What would happen if police tapped your phone because you say voted for the "wrong" party in the last election?If there was no wiretap I wouldn't have reported on the story because it would be irrelevant to me. The police crossed the line when they issued that wiretap in my view. As I mentioned in the article it makes one seriously wonder how many more wiretaps the police have issued without a warrant. In the United States you don't need one in Canada you still need court oversight IIRC.Edit: and this wasn't directed at you MR. I just didn't want to see arguments going back and forth about native rights without getting my note in because native rights vs general police corruption is off topic in my view. What's on topic is the wiretap that was issued without court approval plus the fact that there was effort to cover the story up which I find much more frightening personally.

wapazoid
wapazoid

@mungopwPfft... Canada does not belong to the Indians.. period. It belongs to ME ALONE!!!

mountain_rage
mountain_rage

I totally agree that their shouldn't be any wiretapping of aboriginals or any other groups. But sadly this won't get the proper public attention and that's because the public mostly wanted this guy to act. People are tired of these antics its as simple is that people tolerate injustice if it serves their purpose.

AustinHook
AustinHook

The current generation of Canadians has even less conscience about correcting the theft of Indian lands than previous generations. I don't see where the tribes really have any choice except to protest by civil disobedience. The majority continues to engage in criminal conduct against the remaining members of the original population but there is no accountability and what is criminal and what is not gets defined by a kind of victor's version of events. We have iPods to listen to computer games to absorb all oiur attention and any sense of justice is entirely too much of a distraction from our selfish lives. The classic irony is that we shall end up losing our own freedoms as we ever more successfully learn to surpress those of the minority. A.H Milk River Alberta

Mord_Sith
Mord_Sith

We're hardly suppressing them I invite you to take a walk down Main street here in your flashiest getup from Selkirk (Street) to the concert hall and we can take bets how long you last before you're mugged by the 'ethnic minority.'The problem with the reserves is that they are not placed to support life they were originally placed to ERADICATE the native population despite that they survived for that they deserve a commendation however they don't have to live there anymore they can move to the city stop living in poverty get a job hell the level of reverse-racisim in Canada they're almost guaranteed a job these days irregardless of capabilities!The two reasons why 'this generation' as you put it is desensitized to their plight is because none of them understand this simple fact 'Why stay there if it's so bad?' they're not kept there at gunpoint the other reason is that it's been thrown in our face more times than any other generation about the woe-indians and we're sick and bloody tired of the whole kit and kaboodle.It's not selfishness it's just tuning out the whining of a little brother we've heard it all before enough times that we've stopped caring about it.Anyways that's de-railing the topic sorry Drew...I guess it's time for me to find out the email to my local representative and write a happy little letter about unauthorized wiretapping.

mountain_rage
mountain_rage

If you want to debate this AustinHook I recommend you start a topic in the forums. You may think its so cut and dry but its more complex then anyone realizes.

DrewWilson
DrewWilson

No problem Sith as long as the intention of this article isn't lost I'm happy. :)Thanks for pointing to the forums MR.

CENSORX
CENSORX

"You will never ever understand until you live in their shoes!"

Mike
Mike

"they’re almost guaranteed a job these days irregardless of capabilities!"Not almost.....absolutely. Not too mention the tax breaks. My friend received a 6,000 tax return yet he made 21,000 as a retail employee. How is that possible? He has no children, and does not suffer from undue hardship (his mother is wealthy - yes, some natives are wealthy and involved in lucrative enterprises).



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