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.