Surveillance bill under scrutiny

Vic Toews put himself in the soup recently over defending the Conservative government’s proposed Bill C-30,

Oh Vic Toews, how could you stoop so low?

The federal public safety minister put himself in the soup recently over comments he made in the House, and elsewhere, defending the Conservative government’s proposed Bill C-30, an act that could give authorities access to the private information of Internet users without a warrant.

The Conservatives argue the bill will help police crack down on child pornographers. Liberal public safety critic Francis Scarpaleggia worries the Harper government will misuse such sweeping powers against dissenting Canadians who take issue with, say, hosting a $1 billion G20 Summit in the midst of an economic downturn.

Toews’ responded with rhetoric worthy of the former U.S. President George Bush Jr.

“He can either stand with us or the child pornographers,” said Toews, essentially labelling everyone who is critical of the Conservative bill, and government, as an advocate of child pornography.

The Liberal minister’s concern that the Harper government will “read Canadian’s emails and track their movements through cellphone signals,” is legitimate. It already monitors social media websites like Facebook. And Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s sense of entitlement over using a military helicopter for recreational purposes shows the government’s arrogance when it comes to abusing power.

Toews now supposedly regrets his flight of false dichotomy. He shouldn’t, because it’s helped to open a national public debate that likely wouldn’t have happened otherwise.