Nobody should lose their job for telling Canadians the truth about Vic Toews

"It's not journalists' job to keep politicians' secrets."

Poll

Do you agree with the tweeting of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews's divorce details by @vikileaks30?

Yes 91%
1395 votes
No 6%
95 votes
Unsure 3%
45 votes

So tweeted my colleague, Stephen Hui, in response to the ongoing tempest over the 2008 divorce of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.

Hui appears to be a rarity in the Canadian media. Apparently, the divorce was widely known in the Ottawa press gallery, but it wasn't deemed newsworthy by most of them, even though Toews allegedy fathered a child out of wedlock.

When Pierre Trudeau became a dad out of wedlock, it was reported across the country. But when that paragon of family values, Toews, allegedly did the same thing when he was in Stephen Harper's cabinet, it was suddenly a nonstory in the mainstream media.

Sooner or later, we're going to find out who created the @Vikileaks30 Twitter account, which claimed to release the affidavits from the now-famous divorce involving Harper's senior cabinet minister from Manitoba.

The Ottawa Citizen has already revealed that the posts on the account came from a House of Commons computer.

I expect that some opposition-party caucus staffer or researcher will fess up, possibly lose his or her job, and the Conservatives will play this up as an awful breach of ethics.

And the media cheerleaders, who value protecting politicians' privacy above telling the public about rank hypocrisy, will pile on with more criticism.

From my vantage point, it appears that all the Vikileaks revelations came from the public record.

Toews and his ex-wife chose to slug it out in the courts, which are financed by taxpayers. Anytime anyone ventures into the courts, which are public venues, they should be prepared to have their affidavits publicized. Nobody should know this better than Toews, given his position in the government.

As for the other Vikileaks tweets, they appear to be entirely focused on how Toews spent tax dollars.

The only real criticism the Conservatives can make is that if the NDP was involved, it was acting somewhat hypocritically. That's because former leader Jack Layton repeatedly emphasized that he wanted to bring civility back to the House of Commons.

Keep in mind that this so-called "persecution" (Postmedia's word, not mine) of Toews is nothing compared to how the Conservatives have skewered their opponents.

Look no further than the nasty attacks by Defence Minister Peter MacKay on diplomat Richard Colvin for speaking truthfully to a Commons committee about Afghan detainees.

How about the online attack ad showing a bird defecating on former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion?

Or the launching of Conservative personal attack ads on opponents between elections?

Then there's a recent Toronto Star story about the smearing of Veteran's Affairs and Appeal Board member Harold Leduc, whose private medical records were revealed in a reported attempt to discredit him.

Harper heads the nastiest gang in Canadian political history. The Vikileaks Twitter account doesn't come close to the persecution that the Conservatives have inflicted on their opponents.

And nobody should have to lose their job if it turns out that the Vikileaks account told Canadians the truth about the man who wants to lock up marijuana growers and allow the police to search through your Internet browsing history without a warrant.

I'm going to give the last word to Straight sex columnist Dan Savage. Here's what he wrote about Toews in 2010:

Canada’s unofficial “Minister of Family Values”, member of parliament Toews—surprise!—doesn’t like the gays because we’re a threat to the family and the institution of marriage. Toews has described gay marriage ceremonies as satanic “Black Masses” and insisted that adding gays and lesbians to existing Canadian civil rights statutes would bring the “jackboot of fascism [down] on the necks of our people”.

You know where this is going, right?

It turned out that Toews—who once warned that gay marriage could lead to polygamy—was cheating on his wife of 25 years. After getting a much younger woman pregnant, Toews wound up getting divorced. Another marriage destroyed not by gays stomping around in fabulous jackboots, but by another straight “Christian” shitfuck politician slamming his dick into someone who isn’t his wife.

Toews’s affair became public two years ago, but the scandal didn’t destroy him—he became minister of public safety this January—because the Canadian press sniffed that Toews’s affair and divorce were private.

Excuse me, Canadian-press pansies, but a politician who scares up votes attacking the private lives of others, a politician who insists that other people are out to destroy his marriage, can’t be allowed to hide behind “my private business!” when it turns out that the only threat to the politician’s marriage was the politician’s own greasy cock.

Here’s hoping that all straight folks everywhere one day realize that antigay ravers come in just two flavours: assholes who are externalizing their own internal struggles against homosexual desires (Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, Charlie Crist, Joseph Ratzinger, et al.) and assholes who are attempting to compensate for and/or draw attention away from their own moral shortcomings (David Vitter, Mark Sanford, John Ensign, Vic Toews, et al.).

Toews is pronounced “taves”, and it seems to me that it should be a word for something nasty. Get on it, Canada.


Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.

Comments (34) Add New Comment
glen p robbins
Mr. Toews is demanding an investigation, news says that Ottawa Citizen reports the Tweet came from the House of Commons. Let's be clear here from my own personal experience. My lawyer is disbarred prior to a hearing for sexual harassment over a business partner petitioned into bankruptcy - his daughter and some friends accuse me of staring for a year and one half under the nose of her father - and the judge writes me up as a pedophile. I hold a news conference in 2004 announcing my lawsuit (which the government fails to defend), former AG Geoff Plant writes me a letter signs it in blue ink and says the government has already settled with you -- news cameras and journalists attend, I am interviewed by news from CBC to Ming Pao - and no story.

And this fellow is a Cabinet Minister and his stuff is supposed to be a secret. Mr. Toews, politicians - judges this is just the beginning. We have lists of misdeeds and secrets from many of you - the double standard is over - the game is changing - caucus and accept it - make the changes you need to make or suffer the embarrassment that is coming.
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Gentleman Jack
100% Fair game.
Affidavit in public registry = fair game.
Anyone who says otherwise is a retard or is bluffing.
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cosmicsync
Dan Savage's comments were right on the money. Toews is every bit the hypocrite Newt Gingrich is. If the CPC chooses to launch a witch hunt to find the party responsible for the Twitter account, the rest of us need to pick up our shovels and keep digging.
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Whoswhasit
Dear Canadian "Press" welcome to the internet age. Sorry you can't keep trading favours for control of information anymore. Editors. What are editors? Systemic gate keepers? Rudders on empty ships. Lawyers advise on legal and libel. What do editors advise on? It hardly matters. No will remember in a few years. Their grand spheres of influence are slowly shrinking back to meritorious proportions.
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RP
Seriously, Toews needs to shut his mouth. What, are we importing these buffoons from the U.S. now?
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You
All that info comes from public record. It hurts to have people dig into your life, doesn't it?

Now, how should we feel about people having the power to dig into our private lives? Actual private lives, not some public court documents.

Just like "security" at the G20 closing in on peaceful protesters, you cannot guarantee me this power is not going to be abused at first opportunity.

How long before 90% of GS commenters are on watch lists for saying nasty things about Harper?
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Barney Fife
Cameras in our bedrooms next?
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Vancitizen
Mr. Smith makes a good point in his opening remarks—why does the media choose not to report on something like the Toews divorce? Or how about John Baird. You would think Baird would be a go-to interview around Gay rights issues but nada, zip, nothing. The Ottawa Citizen chose to "investigate" the IP address of @VikiLeaks30 rather than the content of the tweets. Silence is complicity.
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Nick Fillmore
The "concern" over where the tweets came from is of little importance. -- Jeez, the Cons are the worst liars and cheats you can imagine! This bill is a total disgrace. They have no idea what civil liberties are. I say it's time for open attacks on them -- until they start running a government that shows some concern for the majority of Canadians. But we are in dangerous times. Stephen Harper has evil views: http://nickfillmore.blogspot.com/2012/02/is-stephen-harper-displaying-fa...
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DavidH
The very worst that should happen to the person who "leaked" (I prefer "reported") this information about Toews is a suspension - not for the information released, but only if work time and equipment was used.

Anything more than that (i.e. dismissal) would be grossly unfair and should be challenged in court or in a union grievance.

99.5% of working Canadians with access to a computer have used it for "personal" business, at some point. There is no difference in this case - except that it has caused embarrassment to one or more cabinet ministers. Tough luck.
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Cheena Eagle Graham
Guess he doesn't like having the tables turned, altho this was all avail public info. Now, if he was hacked and child porn was found, that would be news! He just needs to learn to take as well as he doles out! Good for the goose, good for the gander as they say! BooHoo Toews - the babysitter was 30 yrs younger?? OMG - how old was she? I'd love to know that!!
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Pat Crowe
Hey, maybe Vic could hire Stephens daughter as a babysitter.
I'm sure Mrs. Harper would be fine with that.
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cranky mom
Yet another politician who I can't believe anyone finds attractive, never mind fathering an out of wedlock child with. No respect for the hypocrite.

Thank you Dan Savage! Your delivery is perfect.
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Jamie1a
Yeah... because we ALL know that if the political parties were reversed, you'd be championing the right of some Conservative hack to divulge personal information about NDP cabinet minister.

No one here would be calling the Conservatives shameless or bullies, but would simply state that this staffer was repeating information found on the public record and doing so was perfectly acceptable.

As for Dan Savage, he is usually spot on when it comes to issues relating to sexuality and sex... not so much politics. Or have we all forgotten his incoherent rant a few weeks ago (but no, only the Right fear-mongers...) when there was a legislative oversight in the ability for foreign homosexuals to get a divorce here. Mr. Smith obviously did.

I also like the jab at the National Post for using rhetorical and sensationalist language. I mean... The Straight has NEVER done that. (As I write this very page, there is a link to an article titled "Steven Harper wages war on blah blah blah") but that of course is totally legitimate.

Why let honesty get in the way of an opportunity to score a few ideological points?

(Let the disagree votes begin!)
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Mark Fornataro
Toews' on-line spying bill will be the subject of debate on CBC's Cross Country Check-up this Sunday on radio one after the 1:00PM news. If he is being interviewed hopefully he will take some heat from callers on his shameful hypocrisy. Callers can phone 1 888 416 8333. I nominate his name be defined as a trapped, weaseling,hypocritical philanderer.
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Bobbie Bees
Bravo! @Vikileaks30.
The conservatives are not about justice at all. Period.

The media hasn't been about investigative journalism for at least 30 years now and they're getting to the point of just being the 'Official Mouthpiece of Government' (tm).

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Davis
Maybe we need a law against Vic Toews getting his children's babysitter pregnant? Those Mennonites always up to something crazy...and of course he paid a fine for election fraud - so no doubt he has repented.
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cdd
Someone may fess, up, they may lose their job, but I'm sure as hell going to nominate them for the Governor General's "Meritorious Service Decoration" - and the Governor General will have a hell of a hard time turning that down, given the overall support for this guy's postings.
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Morty
Only these so-called "conservatives" would label the release of public information "dirty tricks" while defending their lies about Irwin Cotler as free speech.
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Leslea
Once again (as usual) the deceptiCONS can't handle the sort of thing they're directly trying to do to others.

Like every other bully out there, they can dish it out, but wimp out beyond reason when faced with turnabout.
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