Involuntary transparency for Canada's spying-bill MP

Vic Toews is the controversial Canadian Minister of Public Safety whose spying bill will require ISPs to log and retain an enormous amount of your online activity, and then make that available to police without a warrant. Yesterday, Toews drew criticism when he said that opponents of his bill "stand with child pornographers." Today an anonymous party has created a Vikileaks Twitter account that is publishing embarrassing personal details culled from affidavits filed in Mr Toews's divorce, saying, "Vic wants to know about you. Let's get to know about Vic." It's not clear to me whether these affidavits were under seal, or part of the public record (they seem to come from this case: FEHR, LORRAINE K. vs TOEWS, VICTOR E. (FD08-01-86932) Mantioba Queen's Court of Queens Bench). This is an awfully ugly tactic and will likely be counterproductive. It does demonstrate that once material is stored, it is likely to leak, and that the best way to protect private information is to refrain from gathering and aggregating it in the first place. Update: looks like publishing court records is kosher in Manitoba.


  1. Well, at least he’s not trying to hide the fact that he’s gay … right? Like John Baird, or Jason Kenney.. etc. Nothing wrong with being gay, it’s just curious that politicians so unconcerned with privacy feel like they have to hide parts of their lives from other people.

  2. I can easily live with not gathering info.

    As for it being an ugly tactic, its nothing worse than what the politicians use themselves when running their campaigns.

  3. This is an awfully ugly tactic and will likely be counterproductive.

    BS, he’s the perfect target for high-profile muckraking. You might think of it as simple character assassination, but as a professional writer I would think you would have a more nuanced sense of the forces at play here.

  4. If our MPs want complete involuntary transparency let’s start with their personal and professional emails, faxes and SMS, etc. all being made public in real time. Publish their home addresses, all phone numbers and email accounts. Everything. Let’s see how they like “involuntary transparency” then.

    Because you know, “If they have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear”, right?


  5. It seems the Conservatives have yet to appreciate the hypocrisy that they are the most centralised, most closed-door government we’ve had in ages (perhaps ever), yet they want the rest of us to live in a world with no walls. I know people who work for various ministries, lifer civil servants with 20 years + of experience, and they tell me they have *never* seen a government with such strong central control emanating from the PM’s office. It seems the push is on to expand that control beyond the Tory party whips and onto the general Canadian population. We joke about Emperor Harper, but the joke’s not just random. Not that funny either, in the face of stuff like this.

    1.  Yes, if Canada were not a “Western” country, we would be talking about the “Harper Regime” by now.

  6. Anyone who campaigns as a family values conservative better be prepared for this kind of blow back. Hypocrites need to be called out. Also, it highlights the unintended consequences of data collection.

  7. Ugly? Good.
    Fuck him.
    Philandering scumbag. I just love how these guys preach to the world about how pious they are – and yet they’re more vile and hypocritical than the people they belittle.

    Just like the Catholic Church and the US Neo-cons.

    And the sheeple? Eat it up like it’s fucking pumpkin pie.

  8. All court records in Canada are public records, unless otherwise ruled. Thus the desire by so many clients to settle without a court intervening. You file a court record, i can go look for it.

    1. Yes, but the emails sent by Government employees, Members of Parliment, their staff and the PM himself, their collective home and office phone numbers, etc., ad nauseum are not available and these are the “records” that should be FIRST, before they try and jam this crap down our collective throats.

      Because you know, “If THEY have nothing to hide, THEY have nothing to fear”, right?

      (Yes, I know the OP is talking about Court Records. Taking this on a related tangent…)

  9. What we need is a politician who opposes this to introduce a bill that requires all politicians and their familities to be under mandatory 24/7 video surveillance because they could, potentially, be receiving bribes.

    After all, if they have nothing to fear, they have nothing to hide… right?

  10. Hi Reid! Although much less is available online than in the US – mostly you have to go down to the actual courthouse where the case took place to get it.

Comments are closed.