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Mass opposition challenges Tory spying bill

Chris Bruno

March 1, 2012

On February 14, Conservative public safety minister Vic Toews introduced Bill C-30 to Parliament—unofficially titled the “Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act”. The bill amends the Criminal Code granting authorities the ability to monitor any and all digital activities of any Canadian without a warrant.

Bill C-30 follows on the heels of Bill C-11, introduced in September 2011, which restricts Canadians’ access to information online by altering the nation’s copyright laws. Bill C-30 would also require internet service providers to log online activity of all their users and turn it over if requested. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association has suggested that the measures taken in this bill may violate the constitution and be considered as unreasonable search and seizure. It’s projected that it will cost $80 million to enforce this bill.

Bill C-30 has garnered enormous opposition amongst a vast majority of Canadians. A poll by the CBC found that 90 per cent of Canadians “oppose the bill in every form”. Internet users of twitter have taken to informing the world about mundane details of their own life (using the hashtag #TellVicEverything), in an ironic action to highlight how this bill will result in a lack of privacy for all Canadians. Meanwhile, the hacktivist collective Anonymous have released Toews’ own private details—including personal spending habits, details regarding his last divorce, and the name of his mistress—and threaten to release more.

Toews responded to opposition stating that you may “stand with us or with the child pornographers”, though the text of the bill itself makes no mention of children or internet predators.

This ridiculous response only increased the ranks of the opposition, forcing even some Conservative MPs to raise concerns. In response to public backlash, the government announced two days after its introduction that it would be returned to committee for possible amendment. Opposition will need to continue in order to defeat the bill, which would embolden broader opposition to the Harper agenda.

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