Oh, those violent anti-SPP protesters. *cluck cluck, tut tut, etc*
Update: File under ‘teh shocking!’ CBC News: “Quebec provincial police admitted Thursday that three of their officers disguised themselves as demonstrators during the protest at the North American leaders summit in Montebello, Que.”
Related: Naomi Klein has more on the ‘security state as infotainment‘:
Yes, it’s true: like contestants on a reality TV show, protesters at the SPP meeting were invited to vent into video cameras, their rants to be beamed to “protest-trons” inside the summit enclave.
The spokesperson for Prime Minister Harper explained that although protesters were herded into empty fields, the video link meant that their right to political speech was protected. “Under the law, they need to be seen and heard, and they will be.”
It is an argument with sweeping implications. If videotaping activists meets the legal requirement that dissenting citizens have the right to be seen and heard, what else might fit the bill? How about all the other security cameras that patrolled the summit – the ones filming demonstrators as they got on and off buses and peacefully walked down the street? What about the mobile phone calls that were intercepted, the meetings that were infiltrated, the emails that were read? According to the new rules set out in Montebello, all these actions may soon be recast not as infringements on civil liberties but the opposite: proof of our leaders’ commitment to direct, unmediated consultation. Elections are a crude tool for taking the public temperature – these methods allow constant, exact monitoring of our beliefs. Think of surveillance as the new participatory democracy; of wiretapping as the political equivalent of MTV’s Total Request Live.
Update 08/24: Harper might want to put a muzzle on his yappy Public Safety Minister before Stockboy completely buries what little credibility he has left. Greg Weston asked a pertinent question several months ago that bears repeating: “Why is Stockwell Day still in charge of the Mounties?”
More from Adam Radwonksi on the apparent inability of the Surete du Quebec (and Stockwell Day) to get that newfangled YouTube thingy to work (see video above – again).