Sooner or later, Canadians will have to carry some form of identification other than a passport to travel outside the country, says the new federal minister of public safety [Stockwell Day].What's the "new life"? Well, the national ID card program was proposed under the Liberal government under former Immigration Minister, Denis Coderre, and the idea tanked then too under the mistaken belief that it would help keep the bad guys out and make Canada safer.
New life is being breathed into the proposal now the U.S. has dropped its demand that Canadians be required to show passports to cross the border.
"We also want to be able to stop people who are a menace or a threat from getting in or getting out, so that's the overall goal," Day said.
Canada's interim Privacy Commissioner at the time, Robert Marleau, back in 2003, supplied a report to Parliament when Mr. Coderre proposed a national ID card program. He had great concerns regarding the need for a national ID card program, the desire for such a system, the great concern for privacy issues (would this be an "internal passport"?), and the near astronomical cost. Mr. Coderre could not defend or support an argument for the national ID card program, and I don't think Mr. Day could either.
My concerns are the same as the Privacy Commissioner's.
How would a national ID card program keep the bad guys out precisely, and what is wrong with the passport? And, just because the British are doing it is also not justification. Here is the summary of the Privacy Commissioner's report:
The privacy risks associated with such a proposal are substantial. The challenges of putting in place a national ID system that is workable, affordable, and respectful of the privacy rights of Canadians are enormous. A strong case for the benefits has not been made; to the extent that benefits would exist, they would be marginal at best.I think the case for a national ID card is impossible to make and I have yet to see one.
Further information regarding the national ID card program from the Privacy Commissioner can be found here.
[Hat tip, My Blahg]
Tags: big brother, canada, national id, privacy