Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’s divorce has become fodder for critics of controversial legislation he’s sponsoring to give Canadian police new powers to watch the Web.
The minister denounced the attack as sleazy and refused to address it.
“I won't get involved in this kind of gutter politics. Engaging in or responding to this kind of discussion leads nowhere,” he said via a spokesman.
An anonymous individual armed with a Twitter account has begun broadcasting excerpts of what are purportedly affidavits from the Manitoba Conservative MP’s divorce. The documents lay out deeply personal details of a marriage that ended in recent years.
“Vic wants to know about you. Let's get to know about Vic,” a user going by the account name @vikileaks30 said, affixing the numeric title of Mr. Toews’ bill – C-30 – to the post.
“Let's start with affidavits from Vic's divorce case.”
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau quickly latched on to the nasty Internet attack and made a point of republishing the account name of the anonymous Twitter feed for his more than 110,000 followers.
“I want to express my support for @ToewsVic. The invasion of his privacy that @vikileaks30 represents is reprehensible,” Mr. Trudeau wrote on his Twitter account, adding the slogan #LPCdefendsPrivacy as a hashtag, or label, to his message.
Later Wednesday afternoon Mr. Trudeau followed up with a plainly sarcastic message that once again rebroadcast the anti-Toews Twitter account to his readers.
The Canadian media and opposition parties have been largely hesitant to delve deeply into Mr. Toews’s divorce from his spouse, Lorraine Kathleen Fehr.
But Internet advocacy campaigns have not always played by the same rules when it comes to politicians or other public figures.
Bill C-30, which the Conservatives have named the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, would require telecommunications service providers to give police a person's name, address, phone numbers, e-mail address and Internet Protocol address – which identifies a person on a computer – upon request and without a warrant.
Companies would also be forced to adapt their equipment so that authorities could monitor the actions of subscribers. Those authorities would have to obtain a judicial warrant, however, before they could track the mobile-phone movements and online activities of people suspected of committing a crime.
Tabled Tuesday, the bill is supported by police forces and by provincial and territorial attorneys general. Government officials said similar or more intrusive measures have already been adopted by the United States, Britain, Australia and numerous European countries.