Is the Conservative Party divided on online spying?
Quickly after anonymous government sources told The Globe and Mail that online spying bill C-30 had quietly died, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews scurried to get in front of reporters to make it clear that, despite massive public pressure, he intends to push through the online spying plan. According to Toews, “Our government has been very clear, that matter will be referred to a Parliamentary committee.” These conflicting reports suggest the Conservative Government is split on whether the online spying bill should continue on its shaky path toward becoming law. Earlier this year several Conservative MPs took public stands against warrantless access to our private information, which helped stall the legislation. It appears that some members of the Conservative party truly want to do the right thing: to stop this wildly unpopular bill in its tracks. And the Conservative base is certainly against the bill.
But Vic Toews clearly hasn’t learned his lesson.
Together we’ve stalled the online spying legislation, but Toews is now very publicly pushing it forward again, and Harper isn’t stopping him. Canadians will need to continue to make it clear that we support pro-privacy MPs—and there will be political costs for those who want to run roughshod over our privacy rights, our digital economy, and our basic democratic freedoms.
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While, sadly, Canadians and the pro-privacy MPs haven’t won out yet, we’ve made some real progress that we can build on. More to come...