Although historical dates and records are not exact, about 2,000 years ago a poet was arrested and sent into exile; one version has him banished to Scotland for insulting some folks in high places in imperial Rome.
The offender was Juvenal, author of The Satires; it was he who asked the infamous question “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”, and Emperor Hadrian, who built his famous wall to isolate any dissenters, was apparently not amused.
With new security laws being proposed by Emperor Stephen in Ottawa, there are those who ask the exact same question: “Who will guard the guardians?”
Many Canadians fear our government’s over-reaching surveillance policies may result in loss of civil liberties; as far as governments go, nothing much seems to have changed in two millennia, does it?
When Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act, Bill C-51, was announced last month, the Prime Minister’s rhetoric about “a great evil has been descending over our world” sounded eerily similar to George W. Bush’s “Axis Of Evil” – and who can forget the U.S. President’s ill-chosen words of 13 years ago: “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” The introduction of Bush’s USA Patriot Act saw many innocent people locked behind prison walls. Canadians should never forget that one of our citizens, Maher Arar, was seized at New York’s JFK Airport and spirited away to Syria for almost a year of horrendous torture. Arrested on false information supplied to the U.S. authorities by the RCMP, he was only one of many subject to such “renditions” by overzealous government agencies. Those politics of fear got George W. Bush elected for a second term, and with an election looming in Ottawa this year, we have to wonder if that playbook is being repeated by the Harper Government.
One thing has changed, though, Syria is no longer an ally willing to torture the West’s prisoners.