TO: The Hon. Viv Toews, P.C., B.A., LL.B., Minister of Public Safety (firstname.lastname@example.org)
FROM: Steven Britton (email@example.com)
Dear Mr. Minister,
Please allow me to preface my comments by stating without equivocation that I am a staunch conservative both in ideology and in where I place my support as a voter. Let me also indicate to you that I consider myself to be a libertarian, in that I strongly believe in the principles of freedom and liberty for all.
I read with disappointment this morning a quote in which you stated, during Question Period, that one either “stand with us, or with the child pornographers,” in your response to a question regarding internet monitoring of private citizens.
Like the vast majority of Canadians, I consider child pornography to be one of the worst possible crimes one can commit. I think the penalties for production and proliferation of this filth should be more severe than the penalty for murder.
All that being said, sir, I believe your comment regarding opposition to the bill in the form it was introduced during the last Parliament is far beyond what one would consider to be rational and reasoned debate. I believe that people can — and should — have serious concerns about legislation which, without probable cause and due process, presumes that anyone, at any time, might be accessing, creating, or proliferating child pornography! Where there is reasonable suspicion, I agree wholeheartedly – bring forth a warrant and begin surveillance of the suspect to obtain evidence and proof, however giving our law enforcement agencies carte blanche to sneak into online computers and look around on a “fishing” expedition is a gross violation of personal privacy and property rights.
The proposed legislation, as I understand it, would permit the police force the equivalent of storming into someone’s home, detaining the residents, then searching the home, without a warrant, or probable cause! That, we all agree, is a gross violation of our basic human right of liberty!
Does that put me as standing with child pornographers? Absolutely not; however your language, in the House of Commons yesterday, certainly does indicate that you believe that to be the case. Your statement is on the same level as one immediately comparing a debating opponent’s position to Hitler or the Nazis – it’s easy to do, but immediately invalidates any opportunity for reasonable discourse afterwards.
On the Internet, it doesn’t surprise me; however when it is a Minister of the Crown that engages in such debating tactics, it disturbs me.
Steven C. Britton