The Conservatives have given the Liberals another five days to reveal what they know about the public release of salacious details of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’s divorce before they call the Liberal staffer who resigned over the affair before a committee.
Dean Del Mastro, the parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, had said he would move a motion Thursday to have Adam Carroll, the man the Liberals say is behind the Vikileaks 30 Twitter account, to testify before the Commons ethics committee.
But when it came time to do so, the Conservative said he would wait until next Tuesday to give the Liberals time to produce more information.
“We believe that there are significant questions that need to be answered in this regard,” Mr. Del Mastro said. “We don’t believe we’ve got the full story in this at all and we think that the Liberal party is, frankly, sitting on a lot of details.”
Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae, who has said the Conservatives are pressing the inquiry Vikileaks to distract from allegations that they tried to suppress the opposition vote in the last election, apologized to Mr. Toews earlier this week for Mr. Carroll’s actions.
But Mr. Del Mastro said the Conservatives believe Mr. Carroll has been hung out to dry by his party.
“We are going to extend a courtesy that the Liberal Party would probably never extend to us,” he said. “We would encourage them to be fulsome. We would encourage them to indicate exactly who was involved in this. We would like to know who ordered these actions to be undertaken.”
When asked if he was not afraid that, should Mr. Carroll testify, the opposition would take the opportunity to rehash the messy details of Mr. Toews’s personal life that were released through Vikileaks, Mr. Del Mastro said Canadians would find that inappropriate.
“If the Liberal Party decides to do that, if they send this individual in to repeat these types of smears that he has brought forward already, I think Canadians will see that as exceptionally distasteful and it will remind them why the Liberal Party is a relic of the past.”
When asked how the Liberals would respond to Mr. Del Mastro’s ultimatum, Daniel Lauzon, a spokesman for Mr. Rae's office, said any motion to call Mr. Carroll before a Commons committee would be setting up a “kangaroo court.”
The case, he said, belongs with the Speaker's office, which is already considering a complaint about it from Mr. Toews, or with the Board of Internal Economy, which makes decisions about administrative matters in the House of Commons.
There was nothing illegal about posting the information about Mr. Toews’s divorce on Twitter; it was all contained in publicly available court documents. But under House of Commons rules, government computers are not to be used to harass or annoy other people.
The Vikileaks tweets were apparently posted in protest against Bill C-30, which the government has called the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act. Opponents of the legislation say it will allow authorities to spy on Canadian Internet users. As a result, online hacker group Anonymous has taken up Mr. Carroll’s cause.
In a video released Thursday, the day before it promises to reveal more embarrassing information about Mr. Toews, Anonymous said the Vikileaks30 Twitter account merely exposed what it sees as Mr. Toews’s hypocrisy.
The clip, which features a computer-generated woman’s voice dubbed over a dramatic musical score, is one in a series created by Anonymous. In it, Anonymous labels the Liberal Party’s treatment of Mr. Carroll a “shameful act of political cowardice.”
But the group saves its harshest words for the Conservatives and Mr. Toews.
“Fellow Canadians, our own government is attempting to intimidate its citizens into not engaging in legal forms of protest by using their power to have them forced form their jobs and having them forced before Parliamentary committees,” the Anonymous video says.
It asks Canadians to take to their Twitter accounts and telephones to let the government know that they stand behind Mr. Carroll. “Don’t let them have a moment’s peace,” the hacker group says. “Make it clear that our own government’s attempts to frighten its own citizens into silence will not be tolerated in a democratic society.”