Vic Toews stands with Vic Toews

by Aaron Wherry

The Public Safety Minister writes to the National Post to counter the suggestion he was not entirely well-acquainted with his own legislation.

At no point was I “surprised” during that interview. The text of the bill accords in every respect with my expressed understanding.

And that should be no surprise. I’ve been involved in the broader discussion on how to ensure our laws are brought up to speed with rapidly evolving technology since I was the Attorney General in Manitoba over a decade ago.

Matt Gurney’s not convinced. My feeling when this first became news was that Mr. Toews’ comments on The House could be interpreted two ways: that he was previously unaware of the content of Section 17 or that he had not before heard the interpretation of Section 17 that Evan Solomon was offering. And I think I tend to believe the latter is closer to what the minister was trying to say.

Update 4:55pm. I am reminded that a previous attempt by Mr. Toews to correct the record via letter to the editor proved problematic.




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Vic Toews stands with Vic Toews

  1. As to the first. Similar legislation exists in Britain and the US. Do we want such an unaware politician in charge of this?

    As to the second. Perhaps this whole lawmaking process could adapt to include critics in this, our democracy.

  2. I need to save this post to redirect people to when folks accuse Wherry of bias.

    Search-term for future reference: Wherrybiased

  3. I heard that interview. 

    The same issues with the bill that Evan Solomon raised were widely discussed in newspapers, on radio, TV and just about everywhere and anywhere on the Internet all that week. Toews would have to be willfully deaf to avoid hearing about those issues before he went on CBC.

    To me that shows contempt for his office. How can he, as the Minister responsible for introducing the legislation justify showing absolutely no interest, to the point of being cloistered, in what the Opposition, members of his own party, media commentators and the general public were saying about HIS bill?

    Regardless of what he pretends he didn’t know or when he didn’t know it, it’s clear that his focus is on weaseling out of responsibility. Whether he’s lying, or unaware of his own legislation or just indifferent to what anyone else thinks doesn’t matter, he’s clearly unfit to be a cabinet minister.

    • clearly unfit to be a cabinet minister
      So is Bev Oda. So is Tony Clement. So is peter MacKay.

      Nothing to see here folks…

  4. Maybe he should get his babysitter to proofread his letters to the editor.

  5. The only people who thought Toews did not read the Bill were the partisan left.
    It is unfortunate that it took a week for the author of this piece to inform his minnows that Toews simply had a different interpretation than Solomon`s perspective.

    • Toews simply had a different interpretation 

      An interpretation, I would submit, so narrow and divorced from reality that one could only seriously hold it to be reasonable if one had not read the bill.

      For Pete’s sake, Toews said that he didn’t believe that the Bill gives the police special powers under “exceptional circumstances” despite the fact that there’s an entire section of the bill actually titled EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES.

      • The War Measures Act was exceptional circumstances. It is exceptional, therefore  it was used only once in recent history.

        Is your definition of exceptional that these circumstances only be used by a Liberal PM?

        If you are arguing that there should be no exceptional circumstances that police can use tactics that would save thousands of lives to prevent a terrorist attack, then I disagree with you.

        If you and Solomon are simply trying to catch Toews in a word game than you`re wasting everyone`s time.

        • Some of us are “trying to catch” Toews acting like he’s in charge of his portfolio but he has eluded capture thus far.

        • Having the legislation allow for extra powers for the police in exceptional circumstances is one thing, but I’m not arguing about the legislation’s content (not here anyway) but about Toews’ understanding of said content.  The point is that Toews was claiming that the legislation did not give the police special powers in exceptional circumstances.  This, despite the fact that the legislation explicitly gives police special powers in exceptional circumstances, in a section explicitly titled EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES.

          I’m not arguing about whether or not the exceptional circumstances provisions should be in the legislation, I’m pointing out that Toews apparently had no idea that said provisions were even there.  One can’t simultaneously claim that Toews understood the legislation he was championing while watching Toews claim that there are no extra powers in the legislation for police under exceptional circumstances, despite the entire section of the legislation, called “exceptional circumstances”, under which the special powers afforded to police under said circumstances are enumerated.  Not credibly anyway.

          • That was an exceptional explanation of your interpretation of the Solomon interview. Seriously, very good. Maybe Solomon and Toews should have had you there to get them on the same page.

  6. Matt Gurney’s not convinced.

    That’s an interesting way of putting it.

    I would have said “Matt Gurney utterly demolishes the Minister’s letter point by point without even breaking a sweat”.

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