A constitutional rights group has blasted the federal government’s plan to create a Digital ID infrastructure as a threat to Charter rights and a step towards implementing a Communist China-style social credit system.
In the report titled Canada’s Road to Beijing, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) outlines how China’s mass surveillance system operates and in what ways a national Digital ID system is a step towards authoritarianism.
“What Canadians need today is not more unmitigated government access to private information but, instead, a renewed commitment to Charter rights and freedoms. We are on the road to Beijing, and Canadians should be apprehensive,” said JCCF President John Carpay in a news release on the report.
“Things are moving fast, and Canadians should be very concerned that a free and democratic society is quickly headed towards a society where citizens can be cancelled by the government with the flick of a switch.”
The report cited the Trudeau government’s willingness to freeze the assets and shut down the bank accounts of Freedom Convoy supporters in February.
“It used the briefly invoked powers of the Emergencies Act to identify its political enemies and to selectively freeze their bank accounts,” the report explains.
“Rather than smugly assume that ‘our system is better than theirs’, Canadians should be outraged that, in its responses to Covid, Ottawa showed such disturbing eagerness to dismiss and violate the fundamental rights and freedoms which form the foundations of a free society.”
As exclusively reported by True North, the federal government quietly unveiled a national “Digital Identity Program” in August.
“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for government services to be accessible and flexible in the digital age. The next step in making services more convenient to access is a federal Digital Identity Program, integrated with pre-existing provincial platforms,” a government announcement explained.
In conclusion, the JCCF writes that no government can be trusted with the extraordinary powers latent in a digital identity infrastructure.
“As Canada’s introduction of digital ID, digital currency and recent cases of government abuse of power echo similar developments in China, alarm bells should be going off all over the country. Canadians have good cause to fear that they, too, will end up living under a system not unlike the Social Credit System,” the report writes.