Monday, February 27, 2012

Sorry Vic!

Good Day Readers:

It's hard to feel sorry for Vic Toews. Given he's a politician on the national scene, did he make any effort to have a judge seal his divorce file at the time? Would such a request have been granted? As far back as a couple years the Winnipeg Sun was reporting on it. Hell, even Wikipedia carries this comment:

 In 2008, Toews divorced from his wife of 30 years, Lorraine Kathleen Fehr, after it was discovered that he fathered a child with a younger woman who may have been his child's babysitter. This incident later became publicized in February 2012, when an anonymous Twitter account began revealing information from Toews' divorce affidavit as reaction to the introduction of Bill-30.

For better or worse, good or bad politics is a game of knives. Be forewarned those choosing to enter public life. If you have skeleton(s) in your closet ..... The open courts principle in Canada is far, far more important than someone like Vic Toews. Sorry Vic, details of your divorce, like everyone else's, is public domain information so don't complain.

Besides, dirty tricks is nothing new just look at the latest Robocalls controversy.

Clare L. Pieuk
Internet surveillance bill backlash, internet ‘guerilla war’ take Canada across political Rubicon, ‘hugely disturbing’

MPs say Anonymous ‘smears and attacks’ against Public Safety Minister Vic Toews should be viewed as a form of cowardice.

By Tim Naumetz
Monday, February, 27, 2012

PARLIAMENT HILL—Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ explosive suggestion that opponents of the government’s sweeping internet surveillance bill side with child pornographers, and the threat of government control over the web, have sparked an internet “guerrilla war” between the Conservatives and anonymous foes that the government may be unable to defeat, says Nanos Research pollster Nik Nanos.

And, after opponents of the legislation, Bill C-30, circulated personal details of Mr. Toews’ divorce on the worldwide activist internet platform Anonymous, along with a warning that more was coming and other Members of Parliament had to watch their words, NDP MP Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay, Ontario) told The Hill Times the furor Mr. Toews and the legislation sparked have taken Canada across a “political Rubicon.”

Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro (Peterborough, Ontario) said he believes the Anonymous threat against MPs, warning them not to try to “score political points” by linking Anonymous to any specific political party, looked like an attempt at intimidation.

“It certainly appears to be,” Mr. Del Mastro who told The Hill Times in an earlier email following the Anonymous posts: “I believe that Anonymous smears and attacks should be viewed as a form of cowardice and discouraged by all members of a decent and democratic society.”

The employment of Anonymous, an information disclosure weapon for a range of global activists, covering everything from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to globalization to anti-capitalism, and other web platforms that can be used anonymously, such as Twitter, has taken the Conservative government into a realm of politics it has not before faced, Mr. Nanos said.

“I think this is a particular issue where the Conservatives are going to deal with a different kind of guerrilla warfare, probably a type of guerrilla warfare that they can’t win, because of the anonymity on the world wide web and the fact that people of like mind who disagree with the government can wage their own dirty tricks campaign,” Mr. Nanos said.

Mr. Nanos argued the Conservatives walked into the confrontation without realizing the difference between threatened government control over the internet, and its implications for web freedom, and the smaller numbers of citizens who were affected each time through a series of controversial measures the Conservatives have undertaken since 2006.

“The thing is that this particular issue affects the day to day lives of almost all Canadians, whether they’re socializing or doing business or seeking out information online, you’re going to tune into this particular issue because it means that there is a possibility that someone could snoop into your behaviour,” Mr. Nanos said.
“One of the great attractions that the internet has, the world wide web, is not just the scope of information and the richness of information that’s out there, but the whole idea that there is not a lot of government intervention in the internet,” he said. “That’s probably one of the reasons why many Canadians think that the internet is a vibrant, active place, because the hand of the government is not heavy in the internet, in the free world.”

“Canadians do know that technology cannot only be an enabler of freedom but also an enabler of greater control, I think that’s why Canadians are particularly sensitive to this issue, more so than a lot of the other controversial issues that the Conservatives have dealt with, because this not only could affect their day to day lives, it also is part of a world view on the internet being free and open,” Mr. Nanos said.

“The irony is that the internet has been a key vehicle for transparency in government, maybe Wikileaks is damaging to certain people in the public policy process, but it’s not in terms of transparency and accountability,” said Mr. Nanos.

Mr. Angus, while laying blame on Mr. Toews, said the anonymous nature of the battle, however, could undermine political life in Canada, even though the Anonymous activists have taken the same side on Bill C-30. In fact, there is no guarantee the Anonymous attacks from Mr. Toews were from activists; they might have been from his enemies in other political parties.

Mr. Toews’ divorce affidavits were posted on YouTube through Anonymous after The Ottawa Citizen published a report saying it had tracked down initial tweets containing the same divorce information on an anonymous Twitter account, Vikileaks, and that the computer used for the Twitter posts was in the House of Commons.

“I’m very disturbed by this sort of anonymous attacks that can be generated,” said Mr. Angus. “I think we have crossed a political Rubicon. It’s been coming, Twitter is really a bully’s alley in a lot of ways, the ability of people to get anonymous names and then just send hate stuff to MPs, or to each other.”

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“I think Vic Toews didn’t handle himself very well, I think his sort of over-the-top, bombastic rhetoric created a push back, but now I think, for political operatives, they could use similar tactics to hide fake name groups to go after political enemies, so there’s a hugely disturbing element in what’s happening,” Mr. Angus said.

“At the same time, these are the kind of groups that C-30 could go after, I think the government has opened up a Pandora’s Box and there’s a lot of stuff coming out that’s not good for the body politic,” Mr. Angus said.

“Some of this stuff is small potatoes, but I think it’s going to dawn on political operatives to say ‘Well, let’s just set up a fake Twitter account under a fake name for a fake reason and dump dirt on our opponents.’

That’s disturbing,” Mr. Angus said.

Mr. Toews’s unknown attackers through Anonymous—after their first disclosure of the divorce proceedings, followed by detailed information about the young woman Mr. Toews left his former wife for, and allegations he arranged a job for her at the office of another Manitoba MP—warned last week that he should expect further attacks.

“Let it be known this is only a taste of the information we have access to and this is only the beginning,” the computerized voice of a woman posted on YouTube said.

“And to the rest of the Parliament of Canada, you would do well to mind your words about Anonymous,” the voice said. “Any attempt to score political points by claiming we are associated with a particular party will not be met kindly. Your party affiliations are utterly irrelevant to us.”

The RCMP, meanwhile, is investigating complaints from either Mr. Toews or someone on his behalf that he has received separate violent threats, and House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer (Regina-Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan) has launched an internal Commons investigation to find the computer source of the Vikileaks divorce postings in Twitter, along with an investigation into complaints from Mr. Toews that an employee of the Commons flooded his office email systems with harassing emails.

The government told The Hill Times last week it will move a motion to send Bill C-30 to the Public Safety and National Security Committee, at the earliest next week, which would give opposition MPs the opportunity to propose amendments before the bill reaches a vote-in-principle in the Commons.

But Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac Saint Louis, Quebec) said he believes the government is sending the bill into committee so soon in an attempt to defuse the growing controversy.

“The government will try to suppress meaningful amendments, I’m positive of that,” Mr. Scarpaleggia said.

“It swept the bill under the rug pretty quickly by sending it to committee after the firestorm Vic Toews created, but I’m sure they are hoping that once it’s in committee the grinding nature of committee business will somehow keep people from being interested in this issue, and they can use their majority on committee to essentially keep the bill the way it is,” said Mr. Scarpaleggia.


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