A great man once said, "Politics is inherently stupid." That great man was me.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jennifer Lynch, please put this in your file.

Seems like a few other bloggers also others noticed this little tidbit in this National Post piece that interviews Jennifer Lynch, chief commissioner of the CHRC:

"Please, please, look. We have experienced 16 months of invective hurled at us, and at any time when anybody has tried to speak up and correct misinformation, gross distortions, caricaturizations, then the very next day there's been some full-frontal assault through the blogs, through mainstream media. I have a file. I'm sure I have 1,200, certainly several hundred of these things," she said.

What I would like to know is, what's in that file and what exactly is Ms. Lynch doing keeping tabs on her critics? Given the censorious nature of the CHRC and the information that has come to light about their dubious procedural methods (which have been detailed ad infinitum in the media, thanks mainly to Ezra and other bloggers), the fact that Ms. Lynch is keeping a file on the critics of the CHRC is, quite frankly, a chilling disclosure.

Sure, maybe she's just got a file on hand so that when the CHRC writes up their reports about how 'unfairly' they've been treated (maybe she should ask Ezra how he feels about that) she can draw up a few references to misquote. But quite frankly, I'm uncomfortable that a government agency with a history of going after those whose politics it finds 'disagreeable' (using questionable methods to boot) is keeping tabs on citizens who are critical of its purpose and procedure. That sort of thing is to be expected in totalitarian regimes perhaps, but not in free and democratic countries that are supposed to respect liberty and diversity of thought and opinion.

There are even more chilling questions to be asked: Who has access to this list: just Ms. Lynch, or the whole CHRC? Has it been shared with any law enforcement agencies? Was it compiled using government resources? For what purpose was it created, and towards what purpose will it be used in the future? The CHRC's mandate is being reviewed now, and these are questions that members of the parliamentary panel reviewing the CHRC's activities and mandate should ask (hint hint; i know you guys have visited here before).

In the meantime, BCF and Jay Currie have also written excellent posts that you should check out, including information on how you can file an Access to Information request with the CHRC to see what exactly Ms. Lynch has in her file.

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