Canada’s Legislation Adds To The Nation’s Spending

Critics in Canada lined up with child pornographers. At least that’s the claim the nation’s public safety minister is making.

The issue? Canada passing BILL C-30, legislation which would hand law enforcement the power to “lawfully enter” Canadians’ electronic communications.

The bill; which ultimately passed, created a firestorm of charges and counter-charges in the country’s parliament.

“He either stands with us or child pornographers,” Vic Toews said about Francis Scarpaleggia, a prominent public safety critic.

The legislation called, “The Act To enact the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act” showed up on the parliament’s website where scheduled bills are listed.

Toews, Canada’s Public Safety Minister, said providing the path will bring Canфda’s laws “into the 21st century. The bill contained provisions from previous bills which raised privacy concerns.

The provisions would:

  • Require Internet providers hand subscriber information to police and national security agencies without a warrant,
  • Force ISPs to provide a “backdoor” to make a person’s communication easily accessible to law enforcement,
  • Permit law enforcement to acquire warrants to gather information sent over the Internet as well as data linked to its transmission, and
  • Permit courts to force other entities to save and preserve electronic evidence.

Scarpaleggia question if the government could be trusted with the new sweeping powers. He also intimated the data might be misused to intimidate citizens who gathered to protest issues like a pipeline or pension cuts.

Toews’ response boiled down to a little more than “But Jimmy does it too.”

“Every province supports the bill,” said Toews. “As technology changes, many activities, like distributing child porn, is much easier,” Towes added.

Also, then he made the statement implying Scarpaleggia was aligning himself with child porn creators and distributors.

It’s not the first time Toews took the low road and shaded critics of lawful access to creators of child porn.

Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa law professor, has raised his concerns.

On February 3, Geist posted a link from Toews reading: “Lawful access will aid child porn investigations. I call on the NDP to stop making things easier for predators and support these measures.”

In Canada, many privacy advocates in addition to federal, provincial and territorial privacy commissioners have been speaking out against the law. The Conservative government has said the information being sought is like that from a phone book. Critics claim it could be used to extract more information about law-abiding citizens.

“They want to do it without court oversight,” Geist said in an email.

The Takeaway

BILL C-30 was passed and April 2018, a study revealed it costs Canada more than $270 million each year. The bill’s original supporters, like Toews, were voted out of office.