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