Former public safety minister Vic Toews named to Manitoba court
Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews speaks to reporters regarding arrests that thwarted an alleged terrorist plot, in Ottawa on Monday, April 22, 2013. (Justin Tang / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, March 7, 2014 1:05PM EST
Last Updated Friday, March 7, 2014 2:27PM EST
OTTAWA -- Conservative public safety minister Vic Toews has been named to the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench.
Long touted for a judicial appointment, Toews was a former Manitoba Conservative cabinet minister when he ran and won federally in the riding of Provencher in 2000 as a Canadian Alliance candidate. He was re-elected four times as a Conservative.
But it was during his tenure in cabinet -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper made him justice minister in 2006, president of the Treasury Board the following year and public safety minister in 2010 -- where Toews earned his notoriety.
"Vic Toews is a symbol of everything that's wrong with this government's attitude towards ethics," said NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus, who described the appointment as "really questionable."
A champion of the Conservative tough-on-crime ideology, Toews pushed mandatory minimum sentences and promoted a stringent Internet law that would have granted police broader powers, including forcing Internet service providers to surrender subscriber information without a warrant.
In supporting the bill, Toews made a widely disparaged comment suggesting there was a choice between supporting the legislation or supporting child pornographers.
"This is a man who has been over the top time and time and time again," said Angus.
The bill sparked loud opposition and was eventually abandoned.
During the wrangle over that bill, a Liberal party worker posted embarrassing documents on the Internet with details of Toews's divorce. He and his wife of 30 years split after it was discovered he had fathered a child with another woman.
The offending staffer was fired.
Toews began his law career with the Manitoba Department of Justice. He was a Crown attorney and also served as director of constitutional law.
On the Court of Queen's Bench, he replaces Justice D.P. Bryk, who elected to become a supernumerary judge last month.