OTTAWA - House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer has ruled Public Safety Minister Vic Toews' parliamentary privileges were breached by videos posted online by the group Anonymous, clearing the way for the hackers to be hauled before MPs.
"These videos contained various allegations about the minister's private life, and made specific and disturbing threats," Scheer said.
"The minister has stated that he accepts that coping with vigorous debate and sometimes overheated rhetoric are part of the job of a politician, but argued that these online attacks directed to both him and his family had crossed the line into threatening behaviour that was unacceptable.
"He contended that the threatened actions contained in these videos constituted a deliberate attempt to intimidate him with respect to proceedings in Parliament."
Videos posted on YouTube show a headless man in a black suit under a red maple leaf and laurels as a computer-generated voice demands Toews' resignation and calls for a controversial online-surveillance bill to be scrapped.
"I have carefully reviewed the online videos in which the language used does indeed constitute a direct threat to the minister in particular, as well as all other members," Scheer said.
"These threats demonstrate a flagrant disregard of our traditions and a subversive attack on the most fundamental privileges of this House.
"As your Speaker and the guardian of those privileges, I have concluded that this aspect — the videos posted on the Internet by Anonymous — therefore constitutes a prima facie question of privilege and I invite the minister to move his motion."
The Commons can now debate whether to order the hackers to appear before a committee.
It's unclear how Parliament would find the people behind the video. As its name suggests, the group does not publicize its membership.
That's not to say they can't be found. Twenty-five suspected members of the group were recently arrested in sweeps across Europe and South America as part of an Interpol investigation into co-ordinated cyberattacks in Colombia and Chile.
After introducing the surveillance legislation last month, the public safety minister came under attack from the Twitter account Vikileaks, which published details of Toews' divorce and spending.
A Liberal staffer was later revealed to be behind the Vikileaks account.
Scheer dismissed two other claims of privilege made by Toews over the Vikileaks issue.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version incorrectly said the videos the Speaker ruled on showed a man in a Guy Fawkes mask