02/22/2012 10:26 EST | Updated 04/23/2012 05:12 EDT

Vic Toews' Predecessor Opposed Extra Power For Police


A former Conservative public safety minister says he was against giving the police more power when he was in charge of the department that's now pushing the government's lawful access legislation.

Stockwell Day, who was public safety minister from 2006 until 2008, says he thought anything police did should be accompanied by a warrant.

The current legislation, also known as online surveillance, would force internet and telecommunications service providers to hand over specific customer information to police upon request and without a warrant. It also removes any legal deterrent to them providing information police ask for, and allows inspectors designated by the minister to see any information held by the ISPs.

"People have been saying, did I say something different than other ministers have said? I did say that I don’t think police should be given any more powers, that anything they do should have to accompany a judicial warrant," Day said, referring to comments he made in 2007.

"I think what we need to do is reserve judgment on [bill C-30] … because the government’s made a very clear statement they’re open to revision on it."

Day says it's a "big gain" that, following enormous public backlash, the government is sending the bill straight to committee for amendments.

In 2007, Day contrasted what his government was planning with lawful access legislation tabled under the previous Liberal government.

"We are not, in any way, shape or form, wanting extra powers to police to pursue items without a warrant. That is not what our purported legislation is going to be doing. That is previous Liberal legislation and that's not the path we're walking down at all," he said.

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