Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation)

An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in December 2009.

Sponsor

Rob Nicholson  Conservative

Status

In committee (House), as of Nov. 27, 2009
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment imposes reporting duties on persons who provide an Internet service to the public if they are advised of an Internet address where child pornography may be available to the public or if they have reasonable grounds to believe that their Internet service is being or has been used to commit a child pornography offence. This enactment makes it an offence to fail to comply with the reporting duties.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation)
Government Orders

November 27th, 2009 / 10:05 a.m.
See context

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to this bill which deals with child pornography and to put on the record the concerns, comments and support of my caucus.

This bill is roundly supported by all parties. We are here today to acknowledge the work of those in our community who have been fighting for decades to stop the curse of child pornography and more recently to put restrictions on the spread of this vile propaganda by the Internet.

I want to spend a few minutes reminding Canadians how we all have to work together on this issue. I want to reference the work of an organization in Winnipeg, Manitoba, that is headed up by Roz Prober, who has been working on issues of the sex trade and child pornography for many years. In fact, just this past week in Winnipeg a number of sessions were held and media awards were presented to organizations and individuals in our country who have been outspoken, vocal, and ever present on the issue of child pornography.

Roz Prober and her organization, Beyond Borders, have started a campaign called “Man to Man”. The reason for that campaign is that it is recognized that in most instances regarding child pornography and the use of the Internet to spread child pornography, the main propagators of this offensive material are men.

The idea of the campaign is to persuade other men, who know the importance of stopping the spread of child pornography, who know where it can lead, and how harmful it can be to our whole society, to encourage those men to speak to other men whether it be in terms of how they treat women generally or how they view women and children as sexual objects.

However, the importance of the campaign is to start at the very beginning with that notion that somehow women and children are the sexual property of men. If we can get at that root cause, if we can understand what drives people to produce, promote and spread child pornography, then we will have won half the battle.

Many in the House have worked for years trying to convince the present Parliament and previous ones to take tough stands and take serious legislative steps to crack down on anything that promotes the use of violence, violence against women, violence against children, and violence against any vulnerable members in our society, as a way to exercise power over others.

Many in the House have worked for years, and I think about previous members of Parliament: Margaret Mitchell, Dawn Black, Audrey McLaughlin, Alexa McDonough, and the list goes on and on. These women have stood in this place to say that we as a society, as a Parliament, and as a country have an obligation to get to the roots of pornography and violence against women and children. The only way to do that is to recognize it for what it is, which is the exercise of power over others.

The House will remember Rosemary Brown, who was a prominent member in Canadian politics, who was the first black woman to seek the national leadership of any political party. She worked as an NDP MLA in British Columbia for years and was well known renowned feminist across this country. I remember her words to this day, acknowledging that she passed away a couple of years ago and we lost a great heroine and a great fighter, but she always said, “If we do not challenge the notion that might is right, [that competition is the basis to survival,] then there is no point to this struggle after all”.

What we are talking about in this debate is power over others, how it is wielded, how it degrades people, how it makes them second-class citizens, and how it puts people on a life cycle of dependency, hopelessness and despair because the victims of child pornography are faced with formidable challenges in trying to overcome that humiliation, that sense of no identity, that feeling of being dirty and second class.

That is something that takes years and years to overcome. Sometimes it is never overcome and the victims of violence, child pornography, sexual degradation, or the sex trade, if they can escape it, they will fight for their whole lives trying to regain their sense of self worth and purpose in life.

This debate is pretty fundamental to our notion of a civil society, our notion that everyone among us, no matter whether we look at people through the prism of sex or race or ability can contribute to society. It is absolutely clear that our job as parliamentarians is to ensure that everyone, regardless of sex, race or ability is able to be who they are and contribute on the basis of their unique talents their individual potential and contribute that to our society. When they become pawns in a massive trade regarding child pornography, we demean not just those who are the victims who are portrayed in child pornography but we, in fact, demean an entire society and reduce it to its lowest common denominator.

Our job must be to use every strategy at our fingertips, every mechanism available to crack down on child pornography. This is not a time for anyone among us to debate the whole issue of freedom of speech because we all know that there is no freedom of speech when that freedom is used to take someone else's freedom away. That is what child pornography does. That is what pornography does generally. It takes away the freedom of that child or woman, or any other victim of pornography and sexual degradation, to be who they truly are as individuals.

Mr. Speaker, I would urge you to ensure that we move the bill as expeditiously as possible through all levels and all processes in this place to honour the work of those who have come before us and to recognize those members in our communities everywhere, whether it is in Winnipeg with Beyond Borders, whether it is a national organization in terms of child protection, or whether it is the women's movement, where feminists have been speaking out for decades to end violence against any individual and sexual degradation of any individual. We need to honour that work and bring it to fruition, entrench it in law, and crack down on the production, dissemination, and the spread of this vile propaganda that degrades and humiliates people and lowers the whole level of civilization in our country today.

I think it is an offence to the very notion of a civilized society that child pornography is allowed in any shape or form. It is contrary to any notion of what we believe in, in terms of a society where everyone is treated with decency, equality, dignity and respect.

I think it is incumbent upon each one of us to do what we can in our respective constituencies and communities, so that we are not just here promoting laws that will actually make a difference but we are on the streets, in our neighbourhoods, at the community level, in the grassroots of our communities, speaking out every time there is any sign, any sense, any whiff of material or actions or activity that shows and reveals children as sexual objects or women as second-class citizens.

So, what I am saying is this debate is more than just about the law. It is about government policies, in general, and whether or not we are there to support those organizations, those non-governmental community organizations, the women's movement, the cross-borders organizations of the country,and whether we are there supporting them through resources and through acknowledging the validity of their work.

While I know the government is very supportive of cracking down on pornography, as witnessed by this legislation, we sometimes wonder if the government is really there, prepared to get at the roots of the problem, and support organizations that need resources of the government to fight, to speak, and to act. We have had huge debates in this place about whether or not government funds should be used to do such things, to advocate on behalf of others. Many organizations have lost their funds because they are seen as advocates, as speaking out for a purpose, as fighting against something.

I know we have disagreements in this place sometimes about the end goal and our very notion of what is a civil society. However, I would implore government members today to think about the wisdom of that kind of approach and decision, and to, in fact, reconsider supporting women's organizations, which are the leaders on this issue, through core funding.

Most of the organizations I know that fight on these terms, on this basis, spend half their time trying to figure out how to keep going as an organization. They spend half their time making applications and trying to fit their program into a government-sponsored initiative, trying to fit a round peg into a square box, trying to be as creative and as imaginative as possible, in order to access a bit of resources just to keep going.

The women's movement has been drastically hurt in its ability to keep being that voice in our communities against child pornography and violence against anyone because it is spending most of its time trying to figure out how to stay alive, if it is still alive. In fact, many important organizations have had to be silenced, have had to terminate their existence because there is no support from a government that should support such organizations since they get to the very roots of the problem that we talk about today. We cannot just do it with the heavy hand of the law.

We support the bill because it takes a multi-disciplined and a multifaceted approach, but we have to fight at the community level, too. We have to deal with the very fundamental attitude that people can overpower others and do so in the most vilest of ways, through the degradation we have seen in some of the most horrific child pornography cases anywhere, as we know recently from the news in terms of pornography rings that have been broken and individuals charged.

That is just the tip of the iceberg. Pornography is everywhere. The way in which we treat women and children is rooted in a society where the powerful are given licence to overcome the more vulnerable, given licence because we do not stop them from repressing women and children and making them victims.

I hope, through this legislation, we crack down on child pornography on the Internet, that is spread electronically, at the speed of light, everywhere and is so readily accessible to everyone in society. At the same time, I hope, in the process, we recognize that we also have to change attitudes.

Every time there is an act of violence against another in our society, any time women are treated as sexual objects or children are seen as pawns in this game of trading pornographic material, anytime individuals in society are not allowed to be who they are on their own terms, then we have to act and we have to support community groups to do that.

We cannot sit back and allow cultural conditioning to overwhelm us, sex stereotyping to be pervasive, second-class status to be attributed to children. We have to recognize every one as an individual who should be unencumbered and free to pursue his or her life's dreams without being defined, stereotyped and placed in precarious situations because of a society that needs to make money off the treatment of others as second-class citizens.

I am thankful for the opportunity to speak today and to recognize community groups that have been there for us. In turn, I would ask Parliament to be there for them.

Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation)
Government Orders

November 27th, 2009 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Winnipeg North for spelling out how women have been silenced in Canada by the government and connecting that use of power by the government to the wish to have power over others and not necessarily for a positive reason.

Once children are violated by predators, it is too late. As my colleague pointed out, they live with humiliation and despair. My concern is that the government only talks about punishment. It is so focused on punishment that it has paraded a series of less than effective crime bills in front of the Canadian public, yet has acted negligently in terms of prevention.

Just last week, I received a letter from Mark Biagi from Powell River, B.C. He was very concerned about predators who used date rape drugs to take advantage of young women and the fact that there was nothing in our laws to prevent or to prosecute in these cases. We have also heard nothing about prevention of the crime of child pornography.

Could my colleague comment on the resources that should be in place so we can address the very serious problems of violence against women, violence against children in the form of pornography and physical violence and violence against women in terms of date rape drugs and those who use them and those who allow their use?

Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation)
Government Orders

November 27th, 2009 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, the NDP Status of Women critic, for her ongoing work in Parliament, raising these fundamental issues and questions.

I agree with her that there are too few resources and too little acknowledgement of some deep-rooted problems in our society and of the limited ability of organizations to fight back when government does not take them seriously.

Whether we are talking about cracking down on date rape and stopping date rape drugs or trying to work with young people and with organizations that try to dispel this notion of stereotyping and conditioning that is so pervasive in our society, or whether we are looking at more funding for organizations that provide services and programs to fight back against violence in the home or violence on the streets, or whether we are looking at organizations that simply work to create awareness and understanding about the vile impact, the horrific fallout from any kind of materials that treat people as second-class citizens or sexual objects, all those issues must be on the table. They must be addressed. In fact, this is a pervasive, serious problem that creeps up in every aspect of our lives, and we need to be there to deal with it.

I want to reference other organizations that work to end child sexual exploitation. Recently some of the celebrities in Beverly Hills started to get involved in this whole campaign. Maybe this will help in terms of bringing some awareness, when we see actors like Jason Priestley and race car driver, Jacques Villeneuve, among high-profiled Canadians involved in a campaign to end sexual exploitation of children.

This along with the work that I mentioned earlier of Beyond Borders is so important for getting the message out. Public awareness campaigns have to focus and be ever present. To do that, they need resources, money and support to do that.

Beyond Borders, which I mentioned earlier in my remarks, shows that 90% of those charged in terms of sexual exploitation of children or the use of children for sex or the perpetuation of child pornography are men. This goes back to reasons for their man-to-man campaign.

We need to be out there saying, “It's important for boys and men to hear that using children for sex and profit is not OK”. Those are the words of Roz Prober, president of Beyond Borders.

Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation)
Government Orders

November 27th, 2009 / 10:30 a.m.
See context

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, when the minister announced the bill and spoke in the House the other day, she said that $42.1 million over five years would be provided to help law enforcement with more financial resources. When I asked her afterward whether this was new money, she could not answer the question. It goes to show us how ill-prepared the government is and how rushed the bill was.

The government did not look to best practices in other countries. Sweden simply solves the problem by blocking access to the sites. Brazil set up an ethical rules committee for the ISPs. Germany and the European Union block access to the sites as well.

Does that not make more sense than to bring in a bill that will simply slow the problem down a bit? We all agree that it has developed in an explosive manner in the last five or six years. It will only get bigger and fines will not solve the problem.

Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation)
Government Orders

November 27th, 2009 / 10:30 a.m.
See context

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Elmwood—Transcona for a very important point. We absolutely must have a comprehensive strategy for something as serious as child pornography and sexual exploitation of women and children. It is not good enough for the government to stand and say that it has $40 million, we are not sure from where, to enforce this bill, yet it takes away money from women's organizations and organizations that stand and say to all citizens, especially young boys and men, that the treatment of women as sexual objects is wrong, that child pornography has dire consequences and they should be aware of their actions, even if they make comments or gestures that are inadvertent.

We have to start from square one in terms of education and awareness, and that takes money and support from the government.

My colleague also mentions the point about other tactics, shutting down sites, other strategies used in other jurisdictions that have proven to be effective in ending these rings that produce and spread child pornography. Surely the government can come forward with a more comprehensive approach than simply this one measure in this one particular bill.

Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation)
Government Orders

November 27th, 2009 / 10:30 a.m.
See context

Conservative

LaVar Payne Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to ask questions on this very important bill.

I point out that citizens of the fabulous riding of Medicine Hat have very much been in support of the anti-crime bills that we have put through. They regularly call our office and ask why we have not done something about the criminals in the system.

Although some of the colleagues on the other side appear to be somewhat soft on crime, I am pleased to hear that the hon. member opposite appears to be in favour of supporting the bill through the House. Does the hon. member have the ability to see that the bill will certainly help to protect our children?

Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation)
Government Orders

November 27th, 2009 / 10:35 a.m.
See context

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from my Conservative colleague across the way. I want him to know that the NDP absolutely supports the bill and we will help to ensure its quick passage to Parliament. However, we also want our colleagues in the House to know that we are dealing with a very serious and pervasive problem, and it takes a multifaceted approach.

We hope the government may see its way clear to look at other ways to crack down on the spread of child pornography through the Internet. We also hope the government might look at ways to help change attitudes at the earliest stages so we do not end up with people engaged in this kind of activity, which is so harmful to others.

I want him to know that we are here because we believe in this and in the past introduced similar initiatives in the House. Someone just reminded me that the NDP had introduced a bill about Internet luring back in 2006. My colleague, the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore, introduced that bill, the intent of which was to prevent the use of the Internet to unlawfully promote, display, describe or facilitate participation in unlawful sexual activity involving young persons. That was in 2006, so we are glad we finally have a bill in 2009.

Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation)
Government Orders

November 26th, 2009 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Gord Brown Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on second reading of Bill C-58, An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service, and to reiterate the government's commitment to protecting our children.

Evolving communication technologies like the World Wide Web have proven to be of clear benefit to Canadians.

Sadly, these same technologies have also provided new and easier means for offenders to make, view and distribute child pornography. As a result, there has been a significant increase in the availability and volume of child pornography. The web has also enabled criminals to coordinate and plan a wide range of other crimes.

Unfortunately, despite its undeniable benefits, today's advanced technology not only makes these crimes easier to commit but also harder to investigate. While technology has advanced rapidly, it is a challenge for law enforcement to keep pace with new technologies when it comes to investigating crimes.

There are also reports of an increased demand for material with violent content and/or material showing children who are very young. This increased demand is being met with increased supply.

Child pornography constitutes a very serious form of child victimization. Not only are children sexually abused and exploited, but the continuing demand for production and use of child pornography also objectifies all children as sexual objects for the sexual gratification of adult predators.

According to the recent report by the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, “Every Image, Every Child”, the number of images of serious child abuse quadrupled between 2003 and 2007. As I mentioned, these images are becoming more violent and feature younger children.

I was appalled to discover that 39% of those individuals accessing child pornography were viewing images of children between the ages of three and five, and 19% were viewing images of infants under three years old. I am sure that most law-abiding Canadians would be just as horrified by these statistics.

In addition, Cybertip.ca, Canada's national tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children, receives more than 800,000 hits and more than 700 reports to its website each month.

To help achieve our goal of putting a stop to the growing problem of sexual exploitation of children, the Minister of Justice recently introduced legislation that would create a more uniform mandatory reporting regime across Canada. It would require persons who provide Internet services to the public to report certain information about Internet child pornography. Failure to comply with these duties would constitute an offence punishable by fines and, in some cases, imprisonment, or both.

Our efforts are focused on the Internet and on suppliers of Internet services, because the Internet has largely been responsible for the growth of child pornography crimes over the last 10 years or so.

This legislation covers more than just Internet service provides, or ISPs, as they are known. This term, of course, is commonly used in relation to those who provide access to the Internet. The legislation applies to all persons who provide an Internet service to the public, including Internet access, electronic mail services, Internet content hosting services and social networking sites.

This new reporting regime would complement the actions this government has already taken earlier this year. Our government introduced legislation that proposed to update certain existing offences and to create new investigative powers to help law enforcement officials deal with crime in today's technological environment. It also introduced legislation regarding investigative tools for enforcement agencies to quickly respond to crimes such as child pornography. These pieces of legislation acknowledge that the same communications technologies that benefit our day-to-day lives also provide easier ways of committing crimes, as well as shielding perpetrators from investigation.

Bill C-58, a new act, complements well the measures already in place in the Criminal Code. The code's existing child pornography provisions prohibit all forms of making, distributing, making available, accessing and possessing child pornography, including through the use of the Internet.

At the same time, I also applaud the efforts of provincial and territorial governments that have already enacted, or are contemplating, legislation on mandatory reporting of child pornography. Children are also protected from sexual exploitation by provincial and territorial child welfare legislation, which permits the voluntary reporting of child pornography and makes that reporting mandatory in three provinces. In fact, the approaches adopted in Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia require all citizens to report all forms of child pornography.

Bill C-58 is new federal criminal legislation that is narrower in scope than the legislation in those three provinces. Nevertheless, it will provide for uniform mandatory reporting regimes across the country, which will complement provincial and territorial efforts under their child welfare legislation.

I am also encouraged by the actions of the many suppliers of Internet services who have been good corporate citizens in voluntarily reporting child pornography. The reports to Cybertip.ca have resulted in a number of arrests, as well as numerous children being removed from abusive environments.

Our government takes the safety of our citizens, particularly children, very seriously, whether in cyberspace or out in our communities. The creation and distribution of child pornography is an appalling and odious crime in which children are brutalized over and over again.

A mandatory reporting regime across Canada will improve law enforcement's ability to detect potential child pornography offences, help reduce the availability of online child pornography, facilitate the rescue of victims and help identify and apprehend offenders.

Through this legislation our government is continuing its progress in protecting Canadians, improving our justice system and ensuring that it keeps pace with modern technologies. At the same time, we are reiterating our commitment to protect children from sexual exploitation.

Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation)
Government Orders

November 26th, 2009 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I ask the member who has just spoken whether the government has done some best practice searches across the world to see whether there are other jurisdictions that maybe have dealt with the matter more effectively? Has the government looked at Sweden, Brazil, Germany or other countries in the EU as examples of places where more effective options may be found?

Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation)
Government Orders

November 26th, 2009 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Gord Brown Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know that the government has looked at what a number of countries, provinces and territories have been doing, because I know that Canadians consider this issue to be very serious.

I know that we need to look at all of the possibilities to ensure that we do protect our children. This bill does so much to remove what has stood in the way of police being able to investigate and get at the perpetrators of this terrible crime.

Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation)
Government Orders

November 26th, 2009 / 10:55 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my colleague. Maybe just to preface that a little bit, a number of years ago I tabled a private member's bill in the House to deal with child pornography. We had noticed at the time that the Criminal Code contained no provision to take away the equipment and materials used to create child pornography. Thus we brought forward that bill, and to the government's credit at the time, it included the provisions in a bill, which became law. So we feel pretty strongly about some of these issues.

I ask my colleague how many cases of Internet child pornography are investigated annually in Canada? He indicated that the ISPs are offering information now, but I would just like to know what is happening presently in Canada.

Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation)
Government Orders

November 26th, 2009 / 10:55 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Gord Brown Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Lethbridge for that question because it is very important and I know it is something that is very important to him.

The latest statistical data we have relating to child pornography is from 2007. During that year there were over 1,400 police reported child pornography incidents, 440 of which resulted in charges. Unfortunately we have no way of knowing if any of those cases were initiated by an Internet service provider report.

What we do know is that the proliferation of images over the Internet really is a growing problem. According to the special report by the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, “Every Image, Every Child”, which I spoke about in my presentation, the number of images of serious child abuse quadrupled between 2003 and 2007. The images are getting more violent and the children in the photos are getting younger.

I know that this is something the hon. member for Lethbridge takes very seriously and I do too. I know that our government does, which is why this legislation was introduced.

Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation)
Government Orders

November 26th, 2009 / 10:55 a.m.
See context

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe outlined in his speech that in Sweden child porn is blocked. Germany and the EU also block access to child porn sites. Brazil has set up ethics rules which the ISPs have signed on to.

I wonder if the member might see these options as being more effective or maybe additions to the effects of this bill.

Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation)
Government Orders

November 26th, 2009 / 10:55 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Gord Brown Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is excellent input.

We are at second reading debate on the bill. I think there is strong support among all parties for the bill to move to committee so that the committee can look at it. I know members of Parliament will want to hear about all of the possibilities to make sure that we do everything possible to fight child pornography.

Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation)
Government Orders

November 26th, 2009 / 10:55 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-58. It is important to summarize again what the bill is about.

This bill would impose reporting duties on Internet service providers, ISPs, and on those who offer Internet services to the public when child pornography appears in accounts provided to their subscribers, or if they have reasonable grounds to believe that their service is being or has been used to commit a child pornography offence. That basically summarizes the bill. As a party, Liberal members support the bill at second reading and sending it to committee.

It is important to look at some of the history.

The governing party tries to leave the impression that it is the only party that believes in law and order. However, this has been on the agenda for a long time. We looked at it when we were in government, when I was the solicitor general. We were very worried about child pornography.

Although the Internet is a wonderful tool in terms of providing information to citizens, it is also a tool that others can use to exploit children and exploit people in many other ways.

Although the government tries to indicate that it is the only party that believes in law and order, it is not. I think all of us in this House believe in law and order.

When we pass laws in this place we have to ensure that they are balanced laws and that they will do what they are intended to do without creating unseen consequences and complications for others in society.

As with all legislation that mandates a third party to report online dealings to the police, a balance needs to be struck between policing and privacy concerns to protect Internet neutrality. We intend to examine these questions at committee.

That is why it is extremely important that we send the bill to committee and allow the proper witnesses to come forward, people who work on the Internet system and understand the technicalities and the difficulties of imposing this new burden on providers, albeit for all the right reasons. We need to understand the implications of that in terms of the laws that we make as well.

I might point out another reality, which the member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe mentioned yesterday in a somewhat similar tone. The reality is that in 2005 the mandatory minimum sentence of one year for an offence of possessing and creating child pornography was instituted by a Liberal government. The definition of child pornography was broadened by a Liberal government to include depictions, digital or otherwise, in order to trap more perpetrators of the crime. That took us up to late 2005. Then we take the canvas over to January 23, 2006. The hon. member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe said:

I have sat through the justice committee meetings and read the literature since that time without interruption. I have not attended every meeting, but I have been there for the whole agenda. There has been nothing on child pornography in that time. If we are all united in Parliament to try to do some good and combat the ill effects of the web and child pornography exploitation in particular, we ought to say to each other that this is not good enough.

The key point the member is making, with which I agree, is that we have to come together quickly. As I said, this was an issue when I was solicitor general in 2003. Each and every day the Internet system is used for the exploitation of others, so we have to get this bill to committee and deal with this issue. It has taken the government a considerable amount of time to bring this bill forward.

As well, I would point out that all attorneys general across Canada, based on the attorney general meetings with the provinces, basically support the move in this direction. Because of the slowness of the federal government in terms of moving forward, some of those governments are taking action on their own.

If we are going to have good laws in Canada, there has to be coordination across the board. That is why it is so important that the federal government take the lead in terms of the implementation of these laws. It is important that we get Bill C-58 to committee, have our hearings and get it acted upon.

While I am on my feet talking about law and order issues, and I have mentioned this before in the House of Commons, there is an area that I am really concerned about and it fits into this debate in some fashion. That is the whole way the Minister of Public Safety is undermining the rehabilitation aspect of inmates by abolishing the prison farms.

I have said before that this is an extremely important issue. We have a government that is talking about law and order, but its law and order agenda seems to be to go out there and build super-jails and put more people in prison. If we are going to have a justice system that works, it has to be one that rehabilitates people. One of the best rehabilitative aspects of that system in fact is for those inmates to work on farms.

There are six of those farms across the country. One of the most productive farms is in the Kingston area. I have been there. In fact, it is in the Speaker's home riding. There are six institutions in that area. Frontenac Pen Farm is in that area. It has one of the best and most productive dairy herds in Canada, and the government is talking about closing it down. It is a farm in which inmates get out there and work with cattle and produce crops and supply other institutions in the Kingston area and across the country to Laval, Quebec, with food. This is productivity in which they take pride.

Contrary to what the Minister of Public Safety states, that skills of farmers are no longer worthy, they are in fact worthy. The inmates do not just learn how to be mechanics or how to milk a cow. They learn teamwork. They learn management. They learn computer skills. They learn how to relate through the use of feeding and working with cattle and livestock.

I want to take the opportunity, while I am on this bill, to emphasize this point again. The government, with no supporting data, has decided to close those prison farms across the country and lose that productivity, lose the rehabilitative aspects of inmates working on farms. That is a terrible decision. It is a wrong decision. I would encourage the minister to come to his senses and recognize that those farms are an important part of our corrections system and should remain.

I will admit that I got a wee bit off track from Bill C-58, but my point in expressing the seriousness of the decision of the government on prison farms is that while it talks about law and order, while it is great on messaging, its actions are not always in the same direction in which it is leaving the impression it is moving forward.

Bill C-58 is important. It stems from an agreement reached at the 2008 meeting of federal, provincial and territorial justice ministers to enact mandatory requirements for ISPs and online content providers to report cases of child pornography.

The major components of the bill that we support are: the mandatory reporting of all website addresses that ISPs are aware may contain child pornography; mandatory reporting to police when ISPs believe that a child pornography offence is or has been committed using their services; and that the provider must also preserve the relevant computer data for 21 days after notifying police, unless required by judicial order that the data is to be destroyed after the 21 day period.

Those are valid reasons and our party is willing to give support to this legislation, to send it to committee to be studied further and to be implemented, I hope quickly, so that this terrible issue of child pornography and the exploitation of children on the Internet can be dealt with.