Wednesday, February 09, 2011

On piping down

This is a Globe editorial worth challenging today: "Who’s afraid of perimeter security?"
There is little or no basis for alarm that the perimeter-security agreement being negotiated between the United States and Canada would put grave limitations on either country’s sovereignty, given the objectives announced last week by Barack Obama and Stephen Harper.
While the editorial does seem to recognize that some of the matters that are being discussed during these negotiations, such as the entry-exit system and respective visa regimes may be not so self-explanatory and may even prove difficult to negotiate, the upshot is that we should essentially take the talking point assurances from Mr. Harper about the deal at face value.

And further, their bottom line is that they would like those of us with questions to just pipe down for now:
Legitimate questions about sovereignty may well arise when a full perimeter-security agreement is reached and made public. In the meantime, the Canadian and U.S. governments should be encouraged to proceed, and shrill doomsaying should cease.
Because obviously, Mr. Harper, paragon of democratic values that he is, will lay it all before us down the road in a fully transparent way. At which time it will be debated through and through. With proper notice, sufficient time allotted and full participation by all of our elected representatives. That is something we can totally expect, based on this government's track record. And based on the PM's current refusal to say that he will.

In a democracy, in a situation such as this one where significant political negotiations are being conducted behind closed doors, asking questions is a must. And we should do so as loudly as we like. You'd like to think that would be something to be encouraged in apathetic Canada at the moment.