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I couldn't help but laugh as I read reports that Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is suddenly shocked to learn what Bill C-30,the "Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act", actually contains.
I find this odd, since I've listened to him defend Bill C-30 repeatedly and blather on endlessly about how police can never abuse their powers under this act; that he is actually protecting Canadians from abuse instead of inflicting it. All his protestations are despite the fact that numerous reporters and television interviewers who have clearly explained it to him.
If there is one thing Canadians can do with less of (other than all this government invasion of their privacy) it's politicians that are too bloody lazy to read the legislation they are attempting to ram down our throats.
Minister Toews is either blatantly incompetent or he is attempting to deceive the Canadian public when he claims he doesn't know what Bill C-30 contains.
Either option is possible. Both allow for his recent vile and disgusting behavior in the House of Commons, where he said anyone who doesn't like his atrocious legislation must be in league with child pornographers.
Either is also possible when Minister Toews attempts to make the claim that he didn't realize that Bill C-30 allows "any police officer" to demand personal client information from an ISP and for any reason, as is clearly laid out in Section 17 of the Act as it currently stands.
“I’d certainly like to see an explanation of that,” Toews told host Evan Solomon after a week of public backlash against Bill C-30, which would require internet service providers to turn over client information without a warrant.
”This is the first time that I’m hearing this somehow extends ordinary police emergency powers [to telecommunications]. In my opinion, it doesn’t. And it shouldn’t.”
Well, Minister Toews, if the very first time you've heard about the contents of Bill C-30, specifically Section 17, then you must be incompetent. If the Bill should NOT allow this, then why did you have your minions write it in?
NDP MP Charmaine Borg (Terrebonne—Blainville, QC) said it perfectly when she asked the following:
Madam Speaker, since introducing Bill C-30, the Conservatives have backpedalled when faced with a wave of criticism from the public and the NDP. There is no provision to protect Canadians from invasion of privacy. Contrary to what the minister of public insecurity would have us believe, he wants to allow access to Internet users' personal information without a warrant.
Why does the minister want to treat Internet users like criminals?
Even those I would normally never even read let alone quote such as The Star's Heather Mallick comprehend how atrocious this law is:
The target is not just pornographers and buyers. The target is you, because the bill gives police such vast powers that anyone online — or inadvertently linked online or hacked by criminals — could be unfairly caught up in it.
Liberal MP Wayne Easter went so far to question whether or not the posting of publicly available information could be considered illegal.
“The way that Vic Toews went on in responding to the questions that you’re either on his side or you’re on the side of the pedophiles is … was very inappropriate. And so there was an immediate reaction and it came out on the Internet,” Easter said.
“In a way, it is deserved,” Easter said. “If you’re going to attack people the way that Vic Toews attacked people, then some of that’s going to come back at you.”
It may not be polite to post Vic Toews' divorce details on Twitter but since it is publicly available information I'm not sure how it could be considered illegal. And it certainly got his attention, didn't it?
Increasingly, even the most conservative of Canadians are increasingly at odds with our so-called Conservative government.
According to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, the entire Canadian political spectrum is aligned with child pornographers since we are united in our opposition to Bill C-30.
Given the overwhelming desire of the Harper government to pry into the lives of Canadians, our so-called conservative friends are looking more and more like our former Liberal government every day.
As I wrote in my February 17th column, Vic Toews: Politicians, like diapers, should be changed often, and for the same reason:
Warrantless searches are not something Canadians should tolerate or be subjected to at the whim of a police member “suspecting” someone may or may not have done something. If the police believe someone is committing or has committed a crime, they should be required to get a search warrant. Anything less is a violation of our Charter Rights and is 100% unacceptable.
"Unacceptable" also perfectly describes Minister Toews' disgusting statement that opponents to Bill C-30 are defending child pornographers. Vic Toews does not feel he was out of line at all. In fact, he's only willing to apologize
"... if fair minded Canadians have come to the conclusion that my comments, that I made in the heat of Parliamentary debate, were not appropriate..."
That he doesn't think his comments were out of line tells me far more about our Minister of Public Safety than I really wanted to know.
On the bright side, it does help inform me and indeed all Canadians about who they can trust when it comes time for the next Federal election, doesn't it?
Here is the full text of Section 17 of Bill C-30: Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act.
17. (1) Any police officer may, orally or in writing, request a telecommunications service provider to provide the officer with the information referred to in subsection 16(1) in the following circumstances:
(a) the officer believes on reasonable grounds that the urgency of the situation is such that the request cannot, with reasonable diligence, be made under that subsection;
(b) the officer believes on reasonable grounds that the information requested is immediately necessary to prevent an unlawful act that would cause serious harm to any person or to property; and
(c) the information directly concerns either the person who would perform the act that is likely to cause the harm or is the victim, or intended victim, of the harm.
(2) The telecommunications service provider must provide the information to the police officer as if the request were made by a designated person under subsection 16(1).
(3) The police officer must, within 24 hours after making a request under subsection (1), communicate to a designated person employed in the same agency as the officer all of the information relating to the request that would be necessary if it had been made under subsection 16(1) and inform that person of the circumstances referred to in paragraphs (1)(a) to (c).
The police officer must inform the telecommunications service provider of his or her name, rank, badge number and the agency in which he or she is employed and state that the request is being made in exceptional circumstances and under the authority of this subsection.
No, I don't see how any of this could possibly be abused... do you?