Rick Mercer took to the airwaves Tuesday night and dismantled Public Safety Minister Vic Toews for putting a stop to prison pizza parties.

In an instant classic of a rant, Mercer eviscerates Toews for finding a problem with prisoners buying pizza with their own money, selling it back to the same inmates and then donating the profits to charity.

"If there are prisoners out there raising money for school lunch programs, that is coming dangerously close to contributing to society. God knows where that type of behaviour might end," Mercer exclaims. "Next thing you know they might start obeying laws. And you know where that leads -- paying taxes."

Postmedia broke the news last September that Toews called upon corrections commissioner Don Head to put a stop to the parties across Canada after learning maximum-security inmates at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary were eating pizza, KFC and chocolate bunnies.

Toews wrote that prisons "should not coddle some of the worst criminals our society has seen" and that most Canadians would probably see the parties as "unacceptable prison perks."

Inmates soon responded that the ban was hurting the charities and restaurants that had benefited from the events.

Around the same time Toews nixed the pizza parties, the minister also cancelled the contracts of all non-Christian chaplains at federal prisons. Toews argued that the part-time chaplains -- for Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jews and adherents of other faints -- were not a good use of taxpayers' dollars. The move came soon after Toews cancelled plans at a B.C. prison to hire a Wiccan minister.

While Mercer gave Toews a pass on that one, he did aim pointed criticism at the minister back in February of last year over the Tories' online surveillance, or lawful access, legislation. Mercer quipped that "the state has no business in the hard drives of the nation."

While the government shelved the bill, there are signs that a new version of the legislation is now in the works.

It may not be long before Toews finds himself the target of yet another rant.

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  • For The Love Of Pizza And Pesto

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