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Minister Toews attacked by twittersphere over Bill C-30

Vic Toews, the minister of public safety, is trending on Twitter thanks to his introduction of Bill C-30. But it's not a fame he's likely to be enjoying.

Bill C-30, the "Protecting Children From Internet Predators Act," would require internet service providers to give police their clients' names, addresses, phone numbers and IP addresses, without a warrant.

Online response was swift, especially the new Vikileaks site, which appeared Wednesday afternoon and by Thursday morning had over 7,000 followers. The site provided affidavits from the acrimonious divorce of Toews and his former wife, and then went to excerpt the judgment in a court case when Toews was found guilty of exceeding his spending limits in a 1999 election.

The hashtag #Vikieats appeared overnight, documenting what Toews has spent on travel and meals.

Twitter then generated TellVicEverything, in which tweeters are reporting to the minister everything they are doing. Globe and Mail columnist Tabatha Southey tweeted: "ovulating." On Thursday morning #TellVicEverything was at the top of Vancouver's and Canada's Twitter trends, with "Hey Vic" in 8th place in Vancouver. Nationwide, #TellVicEverything was far ahead of Jeremy Lin.

Toews himself tweeted on Wednesday: "I won't get involved in this kind of gutter politics. Engaging in or responding to this kind of discussion leads nowhere."

Liberal MP Justin Trudeau was quick yesterday to condemn the attack: "I want to express my support for @ToewsVic. The invasion of his privacy that @vikileaks30 represents is reprehensible. #LPCdefendsPrivacy." He then tweeted: "Just to reiterate my condemnation of @vikileaks30 (that's @vikileaks30) for being meanies towards the always nice and reasonable @ToewsVic."

Mainstream media have taken note of the twitterstorm. The Toronto Sun reported on it on Wednesday evening, and Global News followed up on Thursday morning. Stories have also appeared in The Globe and Mail and CBC News.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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