The New Democrats are asking for an emergency debate on the immigration ban ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump.
Reposted from, The Conversation
Australia is in need of a new model for universities.That isn’t the impression you get from the delighted students, contented staff and shining buildings pictured on every university website. But that’s a fantasy.University managers now hire a considerable number of advertising staff to create the pretty picture. Behind the façade are growing signs of trouble.A vital one is the gap between management and staff.The CEOs, still called vice-chancellors, are paid up to A$1.3 million a year. Their average package in 2014 was 14 times the starting salary of an entry-level academic working full-time.Surveys of staff show little belief that these highly paid executives are doing a good job. In the 2015 national survey by the National Tertiary Education Union, over two-thirds of the 7,000 university staff who took part in the survey said changes in the workplace have not been handled well.Managers evidently don’t trust the staff either. There is a growing mass of surveillance and auditing mechanisms, branding requirements and online control systems imposed on the work of university staff, including research.
“When you read the document closely it shows an intimate surveillance,” said Monaghan. “The documents show the breadth of and the normalization of the regular systematic surveillance of protest groups, of people who criticize government policy and critics of energy policy. You have national security bureaucracies, agencies, focused on domestic protest groups and it has nothing to do with terror, but with the energy economy.”
In a push that sees Canada move one step closer to a state where being constantly watched, catalogued, and data mined is the norm, the Conservative government recently decided to expand its public surveillance policy to include all protests and demonstrations. The Government Operations Centre sent an email to all federal departments that requested information on even the most mundane social movements. The email then leaked to Postmedia news and opposition parties are now crying afoul, calling the plan a clear blow to democratic freedom.NDP public safety critic Randall Garrison believes the government’s play is a smack in the face of basic democratic rights and freedoms. Though he doesn’t feel we’ve quite moved into a Big Brother state in Canada, he says this issue is proof that the country is undoubtedly heading in that troubling direction under the strong arm of the Harper Conservatives.
The Government Operations Centre is seeking your assistance in compiling a comprehensive listing of all known demonstrations which will occur either in your geographical area or that may touch on your mandate,” noted the email, leaked to the Citizen. “We will compile this information and make this information available to our partners unless of course, this information is not to be shared and not available on open sources. In the case of the latter, this information will only be used by the GOC for our Situational Awareness.”
More than 100 academics have condemned an attempt by the police to spy on the political activities of students at Cambridge University. The academics said such \”highly invasive and unjustifiable\” covert surveillance would deter students from joining political groups, writes Rob Evans for the Guardian.
The condemnation comes after the Guardian revealed secret footage recording how a police officer tried to recruit an activist to become an informant and pass on information about demonstrations. The activist wore a concealed camera to record the police officer asking him to feed him the names of students involved in demonstrations, their Facebook postings and the vehicles they used to travel to protests. The officer said the police needed information about \”student-union type stuff\”, citing as examples demonstrations against education cuts and tuition fees.
For months, Prime Minister John Key has been trying to turn down the political thermostat on his plans to confer on the GCSB as an organization and himself as its Minister vastly expanded powers to spy on New Zealanders. According to the government’s spin, the 180 degree change to the GCSB’s role as set out in the new, proposed legislation currently before Parliament is merely a bit of parliamentary housekeeping of an allegedly unclear legal situation.That spin is blatantly untrue. Section 14 of the existing law and the bipartisan will of Parliament at the time it was passed are crystal clear on this matter – the GCSB was forbidden to carry out domestic spying, which was to remain the sole province of the SIS. Yes, the very same National Party that made such a fuss about the Nanny State while in Opposition is now expanding the ability of the surveillance powers of Big Government. And, in the process, the GCSB that unilaterally broke the law meant to govern its activities is being rewarded by having those transgressions legalized.
Less than a generation ago, Canada was a world leader when it came to the fundamental democratic freedoms of assembly, speech and information.
In 1982, Canada adopted the Access to Information Act — making it one of the first countries to pass legislation recognizing the right of citizens to access information held by government, and as recently as 2002, Canada ranked among the top 5 most open and transparent countries when it came to respect for freedom of the press.
Fast-forward a decade, and we’ve become a true north suppressed and disparate — where unregistered civic demonstrations are inhibited and repressed, rebellious Internet activities are scrutinised and supervised, government scientists are hushed and muzzled, and public information is stalled and mired by bureaucratic firewalls.