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Thursday, May 23 2024 @ 12:11 MDT

No Fly List Redux

Jason ramblingWell the No Fly List is now in operation. I've already expressed my concerns here so I won't go into that for now. What I am writing about is the views of some of the commenters over at the CBC on this topic. While a lot of people are expressing concerns about the various issues over the No Fly List, some are basically rolling out the old lines such as:
WHY on earth would airport screening lists bother anyone unless you have something to hide?
or:
My stance has always been I would rather have 100 people inconvenienced to save a single life
These people seem to be missing something, that something is a respect for their own rights, and that is scarier than any possible terrorist threat.

Why don't I want the government looking in on me if I don't have something to hide? It's simple, what I do is not the government's business. I've often wondered if people with this attitude would complain if the government decided to put cameras in everyone's house just to make sure we're not breaking the law, because after all, only criminals would complain about such an intrusion. What would the law abiding citizen have to hide? These people fail to realize that the complaint is not about the existence of the list or even that we've nothing to hide, but that the government really has no business checking up on me every time I need to fly somewhere. Perhaps they'd like police on every corner checking everyone's papers, just to make sure none were on a list somewhere because, after all us non-criminals have nothing to hid and what's the inconvenience in the face of better security?

Of course my personal favourite is the whole 100 people inconvenienced argument. It's along the line of better 100 innocent people be jailed than let one criminal go free. The problem with this argument is that the person arguing it has the "it won't happen to me" mentality. They fail to realize that it's not just being delayed at the airport. It's the being arrested, questioned and possibly sent to another country to be "aggressively questioned" such as in the Arar case. I suspect they'd be the first to scream blue murder when the inconvenience of missing their flight costs them thousands of dollars in non-refundable charges or when they're in a holding cell down at the local constabulary with the other criminals when they wait for questioning. All that for a dubious increase in "security".

It all comes down to the ways to get on and off the list. Currently it's at the whim of the Minister of Transport, if he doesn't like you for whatever reason, bang, your on the list and can't get off, since it's the Minister who decides who gets removed from the list. There's no due process, no chance for a person to defend themselves against the accusations. I'd have less worry about the list if there were such a process where people who are identified for inclusion on the list have a trial to determine if indeed they should be on the list. At least then we'd know if we were on the list and why. No amount of security is worth losing our right to due process.

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