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Yes, there have always been spies and espionage, all with the aim of stopping some calamity, the existential threats. But thanks to Snowden, the computer geek with the highest levels of clearance, we now know the U.S. has turned its giant spying apparatus on its own people. We also know, thanks to Snowden, that the Harper government is a willing participant and keen to add to our rapidly ballooning surveillance state. And future consequences may be dire.
What if Edward Snowden was Canadian? Would his sacrifice have been for naught? The government is spying on Canadians without warrants and nobody seems to care. As a child, I was taught that a democracy cannot invade the privacy of its citizens without consulting a court. As an adult, I fear we are no longer living in a democracy. But Canadians are not powerless. It's time to get angry.
On Jan. 22, Carlton University undergraduate student Arun Smith forcefully removed a "free-speech wall" from his campus over accusations that it provided a public forum for students to express hateful comments. According to the campus newspaper, such comments included "abortion is murder" and "traditional marriage is awesome." What's needed is not external censorship, least of all the "forceful" and self-defeating kind Smith exhibits, but responsible self-censorship, and this comes through critical thinking and awareness, not removing free-speech walls.