Find Another Privacy Commissioner
The Harper government should withdraw its nomination of Daniel Therrien for privacy commissioner. He's not just a bad and inappropriate choice, his selection is downright confusing.
As an assistant deputy attorney general for public safety, defence and immigration at the Justice Department since 2005, Mr. Therrien has been involved at the highest level in the most sensitive files of government, including privacy issues. He has spent his entire 33-year career in the federal government as a senior general counsel and director of numerous departments.
As such, he could be subject to solicitor-client privilege on confidential files, a predicament that could easily put him in a conflict of interest if he is confirmed as privacy commissioner.
Mr. Therrien is a highly respected and qualified public servant. There is no reason to doubt his integrity or that he would attempt to perform his new role to the highest ethical standards.
That's just not good enough, however. The government is asking Canadians to trust it, but once again the Prime Minister's Office is demonstrating its profound indifference to questions of perception and probity.
The need to balance privacy rights against the demands of security in the Internet age has become one of the most complex challenges for governments today, as well as the most controversial.
Ordinary Canadians and privacy experts alike are opposed to the government's attempts to provide a broad legislative framework for snooping into the lives of citizens. …