Everyone knows that critics of government involvement in things, or control of things, or of government (full stop) have an impressive weapon in their rhetorical arsenal: Hitler comparisons. There is never a dearth of Nazi talk in American politics - most recently, conservative commentators have been comparing Obama to Hitler because of his move to require that Catholic organizations provide birth control to their employees through their insurance plans. Jon Stewart has weighed in on this, making the apparently still radical and crucial point that the pundits who make this comparison tend to be irresponsible jackasses. 

Canadian politicians have finally twigged to the fact that all that might be needed to convince the public that something is wrong is to suggest it wouldn't be out of place in 1930s Germany. Conservative MP Larry Miller, during a debate on the long-gun registry, claimed (wrongly) that Sen. Sharon Carstairs said, "The registering of hunting rifles is the first step in the social reengineering of Canadians" and then  stated, "That is what Adolf Hitler tried to do in the 1930s."

Later realizing that not everyone thought a registry used by law enforcement to keep track of weapons was the first sign of Canada's descent into Naziism, he offered the following masterful apology: "While the references to the gun registry and what this evil guy did to perpetrate his crimes are very clear, it was inappropriate to use his name in the House."

So people suspicious of increased regulations and government oversight have always had a ready-made, go-to charge: "[insert name here] is behaving just like Hitler." But what of the rhetorically reckless types who want to use an overblown, groundless, and incendiary analogy to condemn the people who are suspicious of increased government regulations? To what baseless charge can they turn?

Enter Vic Toews, Canada's Public Safety Minister, with the answer. The Conservative government tabled the "lawful access" bill on Tuesday, and it is expected to pass. This legislation will make it easier for police to get certain information about internet users without first having to get a warrant. A number of dangerous, uninformed radicals (Ontario privacy watchdog Ann Cavoukian, Federal Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart...what is this, a hippie convention?) have raised concerns about what the changes would mean for privacy rights. When liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia made some (admittedly misleading and exaggerated) claims about the new powers that would be available to police, Toews bravely took him to task by declaring, "He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers."

Finally! Now both sides of a "how much government is too much government" argument will have access to inflammatory metaphors. Government trying to run you life, trying to clamp down on certain freedoms? They're a bunch of Nazis. Citizens trying to hold on to certain freedoms, daring to criticize the government? They're on the side of child molesters. 

I love a fair fight.

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