Up to this point I have refrained from commenting on the kerfuffle surrounding Vic Toews and his internet bill simply because I don’t consider myself qualified to discuss all the ramifications with any degree of authority.
However I would like to point out the Minister Toews has a letter in today’s National Post in which he attempts to explain the intent of the legislation. Here is an excerpt:
…There has been a lot of misinformation recently thrown around, which I would like to correct. First, there is no provision in the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act that would allow police to read email without a warrant issued by a judge. Nothing in the proposed legislation would change that reality.
What the bill would do is allow police to obtain basic information about an individual when the police are engaged in a lawful investigation. While reasonable people could disagree on this point, most would not object to the idea of linking a phone number to a person’s name. That’s how a basic phone book works right now…
As usual both sides in this debate can be accused of excessive rhetoric in trying to make their point.
However, the whole thing took on a more sinister tone when the personal attacks on Minister Toews began to develop. In fact the situation is snowballing with the Hacker group Anonymous jumping into the fray just as Vikileaks is shutting down.
Some opposition MPs like Wayne Easter basically endorsed the online assault.
But as today’s National Post editorial points out, this type of attitude is further debasing Canadian politics and could even affect the privates lives of the opposition MPs themselves if any of them ever form government – What Vikileaks hath wrought:
Rightly or wrongly, to embrace, promote or even acknowledge Vilikeaks – as a remarkable number of opposition MPs have done – is to accept yet further debasement of the Canadian political conversation. There is no way around it. The ends may justify the means in some people’s minds, but all politicians’ private lives are less private today than they were on Monday.
This whole episode is making Canadian politics look increasingly like the mean-spirited antics that go on in the U.S. which is regrettable.
And beyond that, we’re really not dealing with the true victims here – the children who are being sexually abused online – often in real time.
There may be an legitimate concern that hackers could access the information. Necessary steps should be taken to ensure this doesn’t happen – to the best of our ability.
However we must put aside the nasty rhetoric and get this right.
Throwing out the baby with the bathwater isn’t an option.
* * * *
Things not looking very good for Minister Toews on several fronts:
After careful consideration, Vic Toews sides with ‘child pornographers’ – Matt Gurney, National Post
* * * *
Terrific column by (surprise) Warren Kinsella!! – No one wins when a political fight turns dirty.
Ezra Levant’s is pretty decent too – Media in a lather! #TellVicEverything