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Yves Faguy

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The NSA scandal: Knowledge is power

By Yves Faguy June 17, 2013 17 June 2013

Eli Dourado worries about the collective shrug of the shoulders in the US (though we could easily say the same in Canada) in response to recent revelations about NSA intelligence operations:

I have no doubt that Prism is a helpful tool in combatting terrorism and enforcing the law, as the Obama administration claims. But ubiquitous surveillance doesn’t just help enforce the law; it changes the kinds of laws that can be enforced. It has Constitutional implications, not just because it violates the Fourth Amendment, which it does, but because it repeals a practical barrier to ever greater tyranny.

Our response to the dangers posed by an omniscient state must be twofold. First, in an age when the state can do more than ever before, we must be more vigilant than ever before to limit what the state may do. As Julian Sanchez and others have argued, this means reinvigorating our Fourth Amendment jurisprudence by rejecting the third-party doctrine. And we need to roll back the imperial ambitions of the US military and our various intelligence agencies.

On a related note, Michael Geist has 10 questions about Canada's secret metadata surveillance activities.
 

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Business strategy: Playing to win

By Yves Faguy June 13, 2013 13 June 2013

Business strategy: Playing to win

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Transparency and lawful access

By Yves Faguy June 10, 2013 10 June 2013



Not surprisingly, the PRISM story has everyone in this country reminding us that there’s plenty of secret online surveillance going on in Canada. Michael Geist probably has the best overview of the legal framework governing the activities of our law enforcement agencies, as it pertains to intelligence gathering and privacy. A lot of that activity involves Communications Security Establishment Canada, our federal cryptologic agency, mandated to collect foreign signals intelligence for the government under section 273.64 of the National Defence Act.

(More after the jump)

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Taking back the keys to City Hall

By Yves Faguy June 3, 2013 3 June 2013

Quebec’s government has placed the City of Laval under trusteeship following mounting allegations of corruption involving much of the city administration, including the new mayor who succeeded Gilles Vaillancourt. Meanwhile, Queen’s Park is struggling with what to do with Toronto’s city council, also reeling from allegations, but of a different nature. The decision to take control of the city’s affairs isn’t likely to raise much controversy in Québec (Laval’s appointed mayor actually made the request himself, though he probably saw the writing on the wall). On the other hand, Kathleen Wynne, lacking a broad mandate from the Ontario electorate, faces a popularly elected mayor who has made it clear he won’t go down without a fight. And no one is suggesting that there has been sprawling corruption among city councillors in Toronto, as is the case in Laval.

Complicating matters further, Ontario’s premier has few legal options available to her. In Canada, cities owe their existence to statutes passed by provincial legislatures. These statutes contain the rules governing the removal of councillors and, in the case of Quebec’s law, placing municipalities under trusteeship.

(More after the jump)

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The meaning of secularism in law?

By Yves Faguy May 29, 2013 29 May 2013

Quebec’s ongoing debate about the meaning of secularism resurfaced this week following the ruling by the province’s Court of Appeal reversing the decision by a human-rights tribunal banning prayer during municipal council meetings in Saguenay.

La Presse's Yves Boisvert writes that the ruling is flawed:

“All in all a surprising decision. And disappointing. But the ruling will be popular because what it really does is express a sort of generalised discontent. Discontent with the accumulation of religious rights that benefit minorities; and discontent with the growing pressure to erase Christian symbols from public institutions.” (Our translation)

Boisvert goes on to detail some of the inconsistencies in the judgment, namely the court of appeal’s sermoning the mayor of Saguenay for inappropriately using his office to promote his religious beliefs. And yet we are expected to believe that a mayor's prayer prior to council meetings doesn’t compromise the municipality's neutrality?

“In short, it’s a judgment that displays a lack of legal rigour. All this will make its way to the Supreme Court, with a challenge following a path either through Quebec or Ontario.”

Perhaps the Quebec government will have better luck in clearing things up if and when it delivers on its plan to introduce in the fall secular Charter of Quebec Values.

A final note: André Pratte point out in his editorial that, according to a recent poll, 57 per cent of respondents in Quebec agreed with the statement that “All religious signs must be banned from public institutions.”

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