The Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development blinked. Then he blinked again.
He has just been asked if his government’s “Digital Charter” would apply to his own political party. You know, the governing Liberal Party of Canada.
He doesn’t answer. The host on CBC’s “Power and Politics” genially tries again. Will the Liberal Party agree to go along with the rules it proposes to impose on everyone else? Will the Grits practice what they preach on data privacy?
Navdeep Bains, the Minister with the aforementioned long title doesn’t answer. Again.
Bains rallies. He sternly says the penalties for violating Canadians’ privacy will be “substantial.” The CBC inquisitor asks what that means.
Navdeep Bains doesn’t say.
And so it goes, as with much that the Justin Trudeau regime does: do as they say, but not as they do. Talk the talk, but don’t walk the talk.
Justin Trudeau does that sort of thing a lot: you know, oversell, then underdeliver. Insincerity, phoniness, dishonesty. It’s his brand, pretty much.
And there is no better recent example of that sort of rank hypocrisy than Justin Trudeau’s so-called“Digital Charter.”
Announced a few days back with much fanfare, but not much detail, the “charter” sketches out some basic principles about data protection and online privacy.
Justin Trudeau, as is his wont, revealed the “Digital Charter” in Paris, where he knew his audience was likely to be less critical than the ones back home. Overseas, Prime Minister Chewbacca Socks can still command the occasional round of applause.
Not so much back here in the colonies, where the “Digital Charter” is like so much that Trudeau does – all sizzle, no steak. All talk, no action.
That’s not to say Trudeau’s “Charter” – he calls it that, presumably, because it sounds like he’s serious, when he isn’t, really – doesn’t have some laudable goals. It wants to combat the spread of hate and violent extremism online, and who could be against that?
Except, well, Justin Trudeau has had nearly four full years to do something about the explosion in hate online. Every other Western democracy has done something about it. But Justin Trudeau? He waits until we are a mere 100 days or so from the 2019 election kick-off, and then claims he’s The Hate Fighter™️.
Oh, and his “Charter” isn’t going to become law until (a) after said election takes place, and (b) he is re-elected. The chances of which, all the pollsters tell us, is presently somewhere between slim and none.
It’s a problem. A big one. In an era where Facebook and other online behemoths regularly steal the private information of citizens, and profit from it, Canadians actually need something like the “digital charter.” At the moment, regular folks don’t have the ability to control – or consent to – the way all the political parties use their data, either.
In 2019, when the tech giants steal your private information, they get fined pocket change. And the political parties – when they do likewise – they don’t get fined at all. They get away with it.
The federal Privacy Commissioner, who has saint-like patience, has recently held press conferences about this outrage. He’s even brought along the Elections Commissioner, who has nodded his head and soberly agreed: the Trudeau government needs to be subject to the law, just as every other citizen and corporation is.
But Justin Trudeau refuses.
With less than a month to go until the House of Commons rises for the Summer, not to return for many months, Justin Trudeau needs to put his mouth where our money is. He needs to agree, finally, to practice what he preaches to the rest of us.
Will he? Don’t hold your breath.
But hold onto your data.
(Justin Trudeau wants it.)