Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 7/3/2012 (1989 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews got approval Wednesday to see who's been snooping through his 2007 divorce file -- details of which were recently splashed on Twitter by a now-outed Liberal staffer.
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Rick Saull said the Conservative MP should know the names of people who've pulled his publicly available court file at Winnipeg's downtown Law Courts Building. Anyone not connected to a court case, excluding the media, has to sign a requisition to see the file.
Toews wanted the information based on the belief someone who had requested the file might have made copies of it and then published details of it on Twitter. The @Vikileaks30 account sprang up Feb. 14 after Toews suggested in the House of Commons opponents of the Harper government's Internet surveillance bill -- Bill C-30 -- were siding with child pornographers.
Within minutes of Saull's decision, Toews' legal team knew who had requested to see the files -- only one person, a provincial NDP policy analyst.
NDP sources said Thomas Linner wasn't doing anything untoward when he signed out Toews' divorce file on his lunch hour Feb. 17.
The sources said the federal NDP asked to see the file because it wanted to find out if what @Vikileaks30 was reporting was even true and because the party was possibly implicated as the source of the Twitter feed.
The Ottawa Citizen tracked the author using his IP address to an account on Parliament Hill. Initially, the same IP address was linked to the NDP because of other activities online. However, it later was reported only four IP addresses are used by all computers on the Hill. The Conservatives had to apologize to the NDP for accusing the party of being behind the tweets.
Toews' legal request came after the court registrar expressed concern revealing the list could violate the Freedom of Information Protection of Privacy Act.
However, Saull said he had no issue with granting the request.
"To my mind, when one considers public policy, it seems to me at its core unfair that someone should have their personal matters revealed at the whim of any passerby and not be able to know who it was who had access regardless of the motives of that person," Saull said.
Saull also said there needs to be some level of accountability for those who tamper or "make mischief" with the contents of court files.
Toews' request also came one day before the House of Commons' ethics subcommittee meets to review the @Vikileaks30 case. The Conservatives believe Liberal researcher Adam Carroll is only the fall guy for the Liberals on the @Vikileaks30 case and allege there was a greater conspiracy by the Liberals to attempt to ruin Toews' reputation.
Carroll just happened to be the one to do it, the Tories say. Carroll resigned Feb. 27.
Last week, Dean Del Mastro, the parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, gave the Liberals until Tuesday to come clean on how deep the conspiracy went or the government would bring forward a motion to call Carroll before the committee. On Tuesday, Del Mastro tabled his motion.
"I think the use of House resources to specifically attack and conceal that attack on another member of the House of Commons is something all parties should in fact deplore," Del Mastro said.
Committee chairwoman and NDP MP Jean Crowder ruled his motion out of order, but the Conservative majority on the committee overruled it. The debate is to continue today.
Meanwhile, NDP MP Pat Martin said he thinks the judge was wrong to grant Toews access to the information.
"If the information is public the government has no right to know who is looking at it," Martin said.