As 2013 draws to a close, Huffington Post Canada's Ottawa Bureau Chief Althia Raj put questions from readers to Tory House Leader Peter Van Loan on the year in politics.
One hot topic among readers: the government's cyberbullying bill C-13. Van Loan defended the bill, which has been criticized for being a tamer version of bill C-30, an online snooping bill which was abandoned amid public outcry.
“C-13 has avoided the items that were, under criticism in C-30,” Van Loan said.
“Under C-13, there is no such thing as a gathering of evidence without judicial oversight and a warrant,” he added, dismissing criticism of parts of the bill that allow police to request information from online service providers without warrants and lower the bar for police to request warrants through the court.
“The threshold that you need to achieve is that of reasonable grounds for the judge to make a decision to issue a warrant. And that is the same that it would have been before for wiretaps, it’s just the old criminal code did not address this kind of technology,” Van Loan said.
According to a recent blog posted by Robichaud's law firm, the legislation would allow police to "make a secret demand to internet/data to preserve the internet hisory/activity of a person for 21 days" without going to court, if there are reasonable grounds to believe of a crime.
The Government House Leader also dismissed criticism from a HuffPost reader that the Tories are obsessed with promoting the oil and gas sector. Van Loan believes it is the country’s greatest competitive advantage.
“If you want to see Canada succeed economically in the future, resources are going to be an important part of why Canada does better than other countries,” he said.
He addressed questions suggesting the Tories were spending too much money on government advertising rather than investing in services for veterans.
“That amount that is spent on advertising is a drop in the bucket, compared to the amount we are spending on veterans and the amount we have increased on veterans,” he said. It was also “important to communicate with Canadians on some important issues,” he said.
Van Loan also defended the government’s use of prorogation saying it has been used more than 100 times since Confederation and this Tory government hasn't used it any more or less than any other government on average.
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