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NCJ Number: 70340 Find in a Library
Title: Will Police Disruptive Tactics Leave Only the Facade of Democracy?
Journal: Canadian Journal of Sociology  Volume:4  Issue:2  Dated:(1979)  Pages:167-171
Author(s): R L Henshel
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: If police disruption by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Security Service is allowed to proceed unchecked, democracy may wind up with nothing but a hollow shell.
Abstract: RCMP apologists argue that dirty tricks are needed to defend decent people from tactics that are even dirtier than those the police have employed. Yet, representative parliamentary democracy involves a free exchange of ideas and the equal opportunity of all political persuasions and individuals to form parties and solicit votes on an equal footing. A democractic government may establish agencies to prevent the overturning of representative democracy through violence or terror and call such agencies the police or security service. But such agencies must exist to defend the democratic process, not to impose their own judgment as to which ideas are right and proper. Such agencies must be constrained to their limited function and neither ordered, encouraged, nor permitted to utilize their great secrecy to form a state within a state. Whether by design or by accident, the RCMP Security Service has quite clearly not always been under such constraints, attempting to influence which ideas will become widely accepted, and which persons and parties will govern and which will not. The service has disrupted a wide range of groups within and outside of Quebec. The service's tactics have included deprivation of organizations' records and files to reduce their effectiveness, intentionally exacerbating internal distrust, and deliberately creating and faking an odious message so that it appears to have originated within the group to be destroyed. The RCMP Security Service has become a state within a state, attempting to influence which ideas and political groups come into prominence. Disruptive tactics are a direct assault on democratic principles, and must be abolished.
Index Term(s): Abuse of authority; Canada; Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Police internal affairs; Police reform
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