On March 14, I attended the rally protesting C51 outside the absent MP’s office. What struck me most was the genuine concern on the faces and in the voices of the 100 or more who were present.
They were not people protesting radically, screaming and uttering vulgarities. They were folks you see in the workplace or on the streets of our city every day. Some had their children with them. Their fears and concerns prompted me to share a little of my relevant experiences in the former Soviet Union.
That experience began in 1992, one year after the break up of the U.S.S.R. In the following 17 years, I did 25 management development projects in Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Romania and 11 other former Soviet republics.
You might ask, what does that experience in those former dictatorships have to do with Bill C51? The lesson I learned most emphatically was: the invasion of privacy creeps from the government to the police and security forces, e.g., KGB, CSIS, into the public’s mindset and ultimately into the culture of a nation. And it remains in the culture for many years.
Several times I was challenged or detained by members of the security forces – 10 to 15 years after the collapse of the U.S.S.R. Numerous times friends warned me not to talk in buses or public places. Raising questions or issues about the Lukashenka government in Belarus brought intense reactions from some who attended my public lectures.
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