The government’s new wiretapping bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament tomorrow, and so Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has wasted no time in telling Canadians that anyone opposing his plan to allow online surveillance without warrants is siding with “the child pornographers”. Yes, and also with countless legal experts, every single privacy commissioner in Canada, and the 80,413 people so far who have signed the petition at StopSpying.ca. Oh, and me. I wish someone would explain to me why scrapping the long-form census (which statisticians want) and data on long gun owners (which police want) were necessary for privacy reasons, but warrantless access to tracking details on everyone using the internet or a cellphone (which police do not want, and which the former Public Safety Minister, Stockwell Day, said he didn’t want either) is considered completely reasonable.
This is the first time this privacy legislation has been in the mainstream news in this session of Parliament. Previously, the bill was always dead on arrival since the opposition was, well, opposed. I hope it at least gets some serious debate this time around. I mean, seriously, would voters actually support this if they knew half of what was in it?
For more on all this, see Michael Geist’s column from today.