Just recently, we witnessed a media frenzy claiming the Conservatives were going to change same-sex marriage laws. Baseless in fact. Yet the usual suspects in the Parliamentary Press Gallery continued to run with the story, when no story existed. Same for wafergate. Ditto changes in abortion laws. Quick to try and inflict damage on the PM and his government, next to non-existent when it's time to set the record straight.
That takes us to the current media pile-on, Bill C-30. The target this time being Vic Toews. Admittedly, Toews painted a big bulls eye on his back with his idiotic comment about being with the government or the child pornographers. Toews has been subjected to someone tweeting the details of his divorce, from a House of Commons computer no less. True, some have showed the gumption to denounce these personal attacks, but some of the usual suspects seem to think Toews deserves it. Don Martin, the one who wrote an editorial denouncing journalists writing about Ruby Dhalla's nanny troubles, stating her private life should be out of bounds, seemed to imply Toews is deserving on Power Play. Not surprising, considering Martin actually did an op-ed detailing Toews divorce a few years ago.
But what seems to have taken this crappy journalism to the next level, is an Evan Solomon interview with Toews. In that interview, Solomon asks the minister about the "exceptional circumstances clause". Journalists have been running with the story about how Toews didn't read his own legislation.
Matt Gurney of the National Post ran an editorial titled Vic Toews should step down, which includes this gem: "When read this section of his own bill on CBC Radio, Mr. Toews seemed taken aback, and said that he didn’t believe that was appropriate. It was something, Mr. Toews said, that he would like to see explained." I have to wonder if Gurney ever even heard interview, or did he base his "facts" on what other journalists had previously written?
So what were Toews actual words in the Solomon interview? h/t to Gabby and Joanne
Toews: Let’s have that discussion then at first reading because I’m not familiar with that framing of the concern because, as I understand it, they can only ask for this information where they’re conducting a specific criminal investigation … [my emphasis]
Solomon: I’m just reading directly from section 17 under “exceptional circumstances”. So you’d be prepared then … that might be something you would be prepared to amend if that was brought up at committee.
Toews: I’d certainly like to see an explanation of that, because right today, police already have exceptional powers, whether it’s to come into your house, your car, and do any kind of seizure in exceptional circumstances. That is a common law power that is continued into our criminal code and beyond"
So with the media still running with this story today, it might be worth pointing out the obvious, that the "exceptional circumstances clause", the one Solomon and his brethren seem to be so fixated on as an invasion of privacy being forced on Canadians by a ruthless government, actually already exists. The highlighted sections of Toews reply to Solomon show that it is Toews who is actually aware of the existing law and how it would affect the proposed legislation.
184.4 A peace officer may intercept, by means of any electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device, a private communication where
(a) the peace officer believes on reasonable grounds that the urgency of the situation is such that an authorization could not, with reasonable diligence, be obtained under any other provision of this Part;
(b) the peace officer believes on reasonable grounds that such an interception is immediately necessary to prevent an unlawful act that would cause serious harm to any person or to property; and
(c) either the originator of the private communication or the person intended by the originator to receive it is the person who would perform the act that is likely to cause the harm or is the victim, or intended victim, of the harm.
It's also noteworthy this section of the criminal code was put into force in 1993. 13 years of Liberal governments and never a peep about the law being invasive.