I suppose they were hoping that fifth time would be the charm. Sadly, this time the Conservative government may actually get away with it this time. They have returned with a fifth, yes fifth, iteration of their Internet surveillance bill.
The government has been on a roll lately in a veritiable orgy of half witted missteps. We have seen the Defense Minister, Peter MacKay using search and rescue helicopters as his personal ferry service for MacKay and his drinking buddies. Not to be outdone Immigration Minister Jason Kenney managed to fake a new citizen oath-taking ceremony. Oh, and associate defense minister Julian Fantino takes his queue from his boss MacKay.
I guess Vic Toews was feeling left out. I imagine the thought process might have gone something like this… “I bet I can out douche bag all of them.” Then, the opportunity arose this week.
When challenged by Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia, Toews answered with this,
“As technology evolves, many criminal activities, such as the distribution of child pornography, become much easier,” he told the House. “We are proposing to bring measures to bring our laws into the 21st century and to provide police with the lawful tools that they need.
“He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers.”
Ah yes, shades of the Conservative party poster boy, George W. Bush who uttered a similar phrase in 2001.
“Over time it’s going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity,” he said. “You’re either with us or against us in the fight against terror.”
The inference Toews imparts is that anyone concerned about privacy must either be a child pornographer or, by extention, a terrorist? Seems to be the same strong arm tactics that Bush/Cheney levied against the US populace a decade ago.
What do the privacy boffins have to say about that? Well,
Ann Cavoukian, Ontario’s privacy watchdog, is fiercely opposed to the legislation, which she calls “surveillance by design.” Federal Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart and other provincial privacy commissioners have also raised concerns.
Based on my reading of the bill it would appear that it isn’t much of a stretch at all for Cavoukian to say that. Toews has been on an all out smear campaign towards privacy advocates for a long time now. Why this push for what amounts to warrantless wire taps on Canadian citizens? Apparently the government feels this is something that is necessary as they don’t already have this ability.
What’s that? They do? In the criminal code you say?
From The Province:
But senior departmental officials also criticized Toews, who previously served as attorney general of Canada and Manitoba, for failing to state in his public response to Cavoukian that there are provisions of the Criminal Code that allow police to read emails without a warrant in special cases.
In a letter to the editor, he wrote in part: “Let me be clear. No legislation proposed in the past, present or future by a Conservative government will create powers for police to read emails without a warrant.”
“This is problematic because Section 184.4 of the Criminal Code currently provides for that,” the director of national security technologies at Public Safety wrote to colleagues after reading the letter.
Hmm, section 184.4. Wonder what that says.
184.4 A peace officer may intercept, by means of any electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device, a private communication where
(a) the peace officer believes on reasonable grounds that the urgency of the situation is such that an authorization could not, with reasonable diligence, be obtained under any other provision of this Part;
(b) the peace officer believes on reasonable grounds that such an interception is immediately necessary to prevent an unlawful act that would cause serious harm to any person or to property; and
(c) either the originator of the private communication or the person intended by the originator to receive it is the person who would perform the act that is likely to cause the harm or is the victim, or intended victim, of the harm.
Too bad the government can’t “provide police with the lawful tools that they need“. So Vic, buddy. WTF?
Sadly, now he is part of a majority government that has a penchant for doing boneheaded things. Mr. Toews, your crown is waiting for you.
Source: Article Link
UPDATE: The government has backed off for the time being.
Cue the damage control…
…you’re doing it wrong Vic.
(Image used under CC from kmakice)