Don’t Toews Me, Bro

I feel like I owe you an explanation.

Especially if you follow me on Twitter and want to know why in H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks I felt so inclined to Tweet you all a lovely photo of my lunch today.

Remember back on January 18th when everyone participated in a blackout in protest of the American Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)?

Well, just one day without Wikipedia and the  House Judiciary Committee postponed further discussion until a better solution is figured out.  It was great to see the online community band together to protest SOPA.  And now we’re doing it again – but with an essential Canadian ingredient: passive aggression.

First, there is Bill C-11, the copyright reform bill.  The major problem with C-11 is the inclusion of a digital lock provisions.

As explained in the Montreal Gazette:

“Bill C-11 would make it illegal to break digital locks on media like DVDs and CDs, even if it is to make copies of content for backup or personal storage purposes. In some cases, critics say, it would even make it illegal to alter the format of a DVD bought in another region to enable it to play on a computer or DVD player. […] It would make it illegal to jailbreak an iPhone, or to copy a movie or DVD to your hard drive; it defines what you can and can’t do with media that you bought.”

In addition to the digital provisions, concerns also arise about what it may mean for the copying of texts for educational and research purposes by students and instructors.

Source: Canadian Coalition for Electronic Rights (

BIll C-11 has been slated to go to committee where it could undergo further revisions.

But what’s really heating up right now is Bill C-30 (formerly Bill C-51).

The bill has been dubbed the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act by the Conservative government, which I’m sure sounds very perplexing because who in their right mind would protest that?

You’re right: no one.  But the means to that end is the problem.

As explained by the Calgary Herald:

“The law would require Internet service providers (ISPs) to install equipment that would allow them to monitor and preserve the Internet surfing activities of their customers. The providers could then be asked by police to collect and preserve surfing data of anyone suspected in engaging in criminal activity.

[The bill] would make it easier for law enforcement authorities to activate tracking mechanisms within cellphones so they can know the whereabouts of suspected criminals. If they’re suspected of being international terrorists, the law would allow such tracking to go on for a year, rather than the current 60-day limit, according to a previous incarnation of the law introduced last year.”

That’s right.  The handing over of personal information, without a warrant.  And now your personal information is being collected and stored by the authorities.  What could go wrong?

Conservative MP and Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who does not participate in gutter politics, has accused those in opposition to Bill C-30 as standing with the “child pornographers”.

Our fearless leader and Prime Minister, Stephen Harper – ever the beacon of party unity – followed up with: “with regard to child pornography, our party is totally against it and I encourage the NDP [opposition] to adopt the same position.”

And now, even after saying he will “entertain amendments”, our pal Vic is the receiving the brunt of the Bill C-30 backlash.

VIc wants to read through all your personal information?  Let him.  In fact, let’s help out and get started early!

That’s the reasoning between #tellviceverything and #donttoewsmebro on Twitter; if the Public Safety Minister is so concerned with our actions, let’s ensure he’s in the loop – about everything!

Twitter users (yours truly included) are copying the MP in Tweets (cc @toewsvic), and I’m given to understand others are also copying him on their personal emails, leaving him detailed voicemails, and faxing copies of their grocery lists (seriously? people still fax things?).

A step even further has been the release of Vic’s own less-flattering and personal (but already public) information into the Twittersphere by the anonymous @vikileaks30, presumably giving him a taste of his own medicine.

The drama escalates as the source of @vikileaks30 was traced to the House of Commons and the Progressive Conservatives blame their political opponents while Vic demands an inquiry. [Update: the @vikileaks30 account has voluntarily shut down with the final message “I am shutting down before any other innocent people are targeted. Please keep up the fight against #C30 Canada.”  An unaffiliated mirror account has appeared reiterating many, if not all, of the original posts: @vikileaksmirror.]

“As we have said over the last number of days, we are not interested in any details of [Toews’] private life,” said NDP MP Chris Charlton to the National Post. “His public statements are troubling enough.”

So if you’re also not a fan of potential warrantless collection of information and being lumped in with pedophiles – and are even less impressed by the unlikely case that the government will be able to keep that large store of personal information safe and confidential – make sure you sign the petition here: and tell your MP.  And Mr. Toews, of course.

Actually, just tell Vic everything.

Liberal MP, Justin Trudeau

About ThatJenK
Writing from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 90% pictures of my dogs; 10% miscellaneous opinions nobody asked for.

10 Responses to Don’t Toews Me, Bro

  1. 2browndawgs says:

    I am not in favor of targeting people on FB or twitter for political purposes. I think what will eventually happen is that good people will not want to deal with the hassle of internet bullying. Surely there are better ways to debate an issue than harassment on social media?

    PS the sandwich looked yummy. 🙂

    • thatjenk says:

      Yeah, this is the tough issue every government is trying to balance: how much privacy (or even “freedom”, if you want to go there) should be sacrificed for security, or the “greater good”.

      I absolutely think the #tellviceverything reaction is ingenious and to see the participation is great given Canada has disappointingly low voter turnout in most elections.

      Though, I do understand the uneasy feeling behind the @vikileaks30 tactic, taking a different route to make a similar point, and my initial reaction was discomfort. Though I don’t feel particularly sympathetic knowing none of the information released is private, after the “child pornographers” comment, and given that party’s notorious history of political attack ads of their own.

      It may be akin to treating VIc the way he wants us to be treated, but you know what they say about “an eye for an eye”….

      • 2browndawgs says:

        As you my or may not have figured out, I am not a big government person so less is always more in my book. I guess I just question this method to make a legitimate point.

  2. 2browndawgs says:

    Darn, I forgot to say that I “tagged” you. No pressure. 🙂 Info here:

  3. Steve Murray can be pretty funny. And as the NP supports the Harper government, when they DON’T you know they’ve gotten ‘way off track.

    I wish I had faith in our judiciary to overturn this as unconstitutional if it did become law, but the SCoC is a bunch of wussy-pants.

    I went off Twitter in November (too overwhelmed at the time to deal with information floods), and missed your sandwich. Hope it was yummy!

  4. I think there’s already a lot of rules – it’s hard to keep up – if they’re for the right reason and effective I think it’s cool – somehow I’m not sure they’re always for the right reason?

    Have a fun day

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

  5. Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I passed along the Versatile Blogger Award to you today at:

  6. Kristine says:

    Ha! I heard all about this last week but never got around to participating in the fun. I am so glad you did. 🙂 I can’t believe Justin Trudeau participated as well! I’ve never been his biggest fan but that cracks me right up!

    On Sunday I heard a number of these Twitter accounts were shut down and that Toews was in the process of filing lawsuits for some sort of invasion of privacy BS. Which just made the whole thing even more ridiculous.

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