Former public safety minister Stockwell Day says he hopes the Conservative government takes "another look" at its bill to fight cybercrime and curtails some of the powers it would give to police.
Speaking as a panellist on CBC News Network's Power & Politics, Day said he's sympathetic to concerns raised about Bill C-13 by Ontario Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian, who said the government is "overreaching."
Cavoukian said the government should split the bill to deal with the cyberbullying provisions separately, echoing concerns of Carol Todd, whose daughter Amanda killed herself after being bullied online.
Day was a cabinet minister in the Conservative government from 2006 until he retired from Parliament in 2011.
"In my former portfolio at public security and public safety, this was an issue, the whole area of privacy and what can police do," he said, noting that reaction to a heartbreaking situation can be understandably profound.
"There can be an overreaction in terms of how you correct it. So [Cavoukian is] raising a bit of an alarm here. Let's be very careful in how we could protect someone in a situation like this, but let's also be careful in going too far and limiting even things like free speech, [or using] invasive techniques that could be employed by policing."
"I'm hoping they take another look at this and kind of curtail some of those powers," Day added.
It's alarming, Day said, that people increasingly treat a lack of privacy "with a bit of a shrug."
Laws, he said, have to be "crystal clear on the aspect of police, what data they could have. I stood firmly against giving more access without some kind of warrant procedure."
Canada must also balance freedom of expression with the need to protect vulnerable young people, he said.
"I'm hoping that all MPs … take a serious look at how we can maintain certain rights to speech and freedom of expression even when it's unpleasant."
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