Last week, the federal Conservative government moved in a direction that Canadians have not been used to seeing them go - backwards.
The government announced that it was going to let its much-reviled Bill C-30 - commonly known as the Internet surveillance bill - die.
Had it passed, the bill would have forced Internet service providers to turn over information to police and allow them to snoop on electronic communications without bothering with the niceties of obtaining warrants.
The bill prompted outrage - and rightly so - from federal and provincial privacy commissioners, from civil liberties advocates and from a burgeoning group of online activists.
It's hard to accept Justice Minister Rob Nicholson's claim that government decided to change course because it was listening to the criticisms Canadians voiced about the bill.
Other recent decisions by the Conservatives have prompted equal or greater public vitriol, but in every one of those cases, the government has stuck to its guns.
Elimination of the long-form census and removing federal Fisheries Act protections with an omnibus budget bill were met with almost universal revulsion, yet the Conservatives would not blink.
It's more likely that Nicholson, et al., finally foresaw what even casual Charter nerds were screaming: that this law would be struck down at its first court challenge, and at every challenge thereafter.
If public opposition really did make the difference in this rare instance, big kudos are owed to the Internet activists and privacy advocates who kept the issue front and centre.
They might have saved us from a fundamental change in the relationship between our government and the people it serves - one in which privacy would have been replaced with snooping.
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