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Protest against Vic Toews in Richmond today

A Conservative fundraising dinner held in MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay's riding of Delta-Richmond East this evening will have a few unexpected guests as protestors are planning to stage a rally outside to protest attendee Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, as well as Bills C-10, C-11, and C-30.

Although the rally is being organized by Russ* Miller, vice-president of the Vancouver East Federal Liberal Riding Association, Miller says it's a non-partisan event he organized as a concerned citizen, not a Liberal supporter. He's hoping the protest will raise awareness about the Bill C-10, also known as the omnibus crime bill, C-11, the Copyright Modernization Act, and C-30, the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act.

C-30, which would give police access to private information about internet users without a warrant, has landed Toews in particular in hot water this month when he said that standing against the bill was standing "with the child pornographers." Toews later told CBC Radio's The House that he wasn't aware of wording that allowed police to access anyone's information under "exceptional circumstances."

Miller says this shows Toews doesn't have Canadians' best interests in mind.

"I don't like Vic Toews. As a minister I think he's in dereliction of his duty, to be perfectly honest; he doesn't know what's going on in his own bills, he hasn't read the bill, which begs the question who has written the bill?" he told The Tyee.

"I don't think that this bill is something that Canadians elected Harper and Toews to do, and I think it goes against some of their fundamental principles as conservatives, and I think a lot of conservatives are seeing that."

The protest, which Miller has been organizing through Facebook since Saturday, is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. today, but there will be sign making ahead of time at the W2 Media Cafe in the Woodwards building in downtown Vancouver. So far 133 people are supposed to attend according to Facebook, but OpenMedia, who has been a vocal opponent of both Bill C-11 and C-30, has also sent an email through its listserv encouraging attendance.

"(Bill C-30) doesn't mention child pornography one time except in the title. It's smoke and mirrors from the government," says Miller. "This is something that I think every Canadian needs to be aware of, every Canadian needs to be angry about, and every Canadian needs to be organizing to stop this from happening."

The Tyee called the Ministry of Public Safety to confirm Toews attendance at the dinner, where plates will cost $150, but was told the Minister "has no public events in Vancouver." However Findlay's website has the event on the front page with a picture of Toews and lists the discussion topics as "ending the long-gun registry, new parole rules, the Safe Streets and Communities Act, and anti-terrorism."

Katie Hyslop reports for The Tyee.

*Originally posted as Rick Miller. Corrected 1:31 p.m. February 22, 2012

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