Bill C-484 (Historical)
An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cracking down on child pornography)
This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in March 2011.
This bill was previously introduced in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session.
Peter Julian NDP
Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)
Introduction and First Reading
(This bill did not become law.)
Opposition Motion—Conduct of Government
Business of Supply
March 10th, 2011 / 12:25 p.m.
Johanne Deschamps Laurentides—Labelle, QC
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé. My remarks will be a bit more moderate, but my message will come across just the same.
I am pleased to take the floor today to demonstrate to the House the government's disregard for democracy and its determination to go to any lengths to advance its partisan interests and impose its regressive ideology. As soon as it was elected, in January 2006, the Conservative government radically changed Canada's official development assistance and foreign policies by concentrating on its own economic and trade vision.
It deliberately abandoned the African continent. Up until then, African countries were getting a sizeable portion of our official development assistance budget. In 2009, the Conservative government decided Africa would no longer be a priority, and eight African countries were dropped from the priority list, including Rwanda, Niger, Burkina Faso and Benin. The 2005 list included 14 African countries, but only 7 were left on the 2009 list.
The Conservative government preferred to prioritize countries with which it is signing or negotiating free trade agreements, such as Ukraine, Colombia, Peru and Honduras. Although these countries do experience poverty, CIDA's 2005 list of priority countries included more poor countries than the 2009 list. Under the Conservative government, Canada’s foreign policy has become merely a trade policy.
Over many decades, Quebeckers and Canadians earned a good reputation abroad thanks to their respect for human rights and international law and their fervent support for democracy, advocating diplomacy rather than the use of force. A majority of Canadians still support these values and principles, but since the Conservatives are in power, economic prosperity, militarism and the security agenda have replaced the values that once were so distinctively Canadian on the world scene.
This is another example of how this government has imposed its regressive ideology on Canada's official development assistance. During the G8 and G20 summits in June 2010, the government said that one of its priorities was maternal health, a millennium development goal. That is a very commendable and admirable priority. However, CIDA, the Canadian International Development Agency, refuses to fund abortion, even though many experts say it should be included in order to cover all women's health needs.
The women of Quebec and Canada have won this freedom of choice, and the debate is closed. In Canada, women have the right to choose to end a pregnancy and they have access to all the care and services required for that choice. So why did the government remove all funding for abortion in its assistance plan for women in developing countries, if not to appease groups that advocate this conservative ideology?
Since coming to power, Conservative members have been introducing bills meant to surreptitiously reopen the abortion debate. One such example is Bill C-484 introduced by the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park. That bill would have given a legal status to a fetus, which has no such status under current laws.
Another perfect example is Bill C-510 introduced by the member for Winnipeg South. That bill patronizes women by implying they are frequently coerced into abortion, but the vast majority of women make their own decision to have an abortion and take full responsibility for it. It is clear that, once again, the Conservative government was trying to limit a woman's right to choose regarding abortion, by making women feel isolated when making such a decision.
This government will stop at nothing to promote its partisan interests and impose its regressive ideology, as it demonstrated with non-governmental organizations, civil society representatives and human rights groups.
The government is refusing or cutting funding for organizations that dare to criticize it, question its motives or voice a different opinion. The Canadian Council for International Co-operation, or the CCIC, and KAIROS, two organizations that are internationally recognized and known for their excellent work, had their funding requests denied by CIDA.
All of the controversy surrounding the refusal of funding for KAIROS clearly shows that the Conservative government is prepared to go so far as to allow a minister to falsify documents and make misleading statements to the House in order to ensure that there is no deviation from its ideology and that it can freely promote its partisan interests.
Shocked and disturbed by this behaviour, the members of the opposition raised a question of privilege. Yesterday, the Speaker of the House ruled that the Minister of International Cooperation did indeed abuse the privileges enjoyed by members of the House of Commons and that she could be found in contempt of Parliament if the opposition decides to take the matter that far. What is outrageous is that the government's ideology is harmful to democracy. We condemn the autocratic approach of the government, which has demonstrated on numerous occasions its total lack of respect for democracy and the parliamentary system.
The government has gone even further by imposing its regressive ideology on projects that it funds abroad. The government fears the unions in Canada, so it tries to stifle them abroad. Canada could help to improve the situation of workers in Mexico and other southern countries, but the Government of Canada is refusing or cutting funding for cooperative programs with labour organizations. CIDA ended funding for the CSN and the Centre international de solidarité ouvrière for their projects designed to support workers in the south.
Not only has the government interfered politically in official development assistance and let pro-life groups dictate its policies, but it is also slowly destroying Canada’s image abroad. It goes even further. It is even changing the terminology public servants should use. International organizations and NGOs have all agreed on a common terminology, but it seems it does not suit the Conservative government anymore. In order to avoid the key words often used by women’s organizations and other groups dedicated to the protection of rights, the Conservatives are imposing a whole new terminology on diplomats.
Under the Conservatives, “gender equality” does not exist anymore. It has been replaced by “equality between men and women”. We should not talk about “child soldiers”, but”. The terminology is being changed. When talking about rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the word “impunity” has been replaced by “prevention”. These are serious changes that show how much this government is under the influence of its strong right wing.
The crisis in the Rights and Democracy organization revealed the true face of the Conservatives. By appointing people who subscribe to the Conservative ideology to the board, the government could keep this organization under its control. But this organization should be instead at arm’s length from the Canadian government if it is to perform its work adequately and keep its credibility.
There is a long list of actions taken by the Conservative government to change Canada’s foreign policy to please its partisan base. The government does not realize how badly it is tarnishing Canada’s image abroad. When it failed, last fall, to win a seat on the UN Security Council, it should have understood that its radical positions are hurting its diplomatic relations.
In conclusion, the fundamental concern we all have is how far the Conservative government is willing to go to promote its regressive ideology.
Opposition Motion—Maternal and Child Health
Business of Supply
March 23rd, 2010 / 1:30 p.m.
Nicole Demers Laval, QC
Mr. Speaker, I want to inform the House that I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for La Pointe-de-l'Île. I will have to be sure not to forget it.
It is a pleasure for me to rise and speak in this debate.
I am obviously an unabashed supporter of the motion being debated today in the House. I too think that the government’s G8 maternal and child health initiative for the world’s poorest regions must include the full range of family planning and sexual and reproductive health options, including contraception.
I too think the government’s approach must be based on scientific evidence.
And I too think that the Conservative government should refrain from advancing the failed right-wing ideologies previously imposed by George W. Bush in the United States, which made humanitarian assistance conditional upon a global gag rule that required all non-governmental organizations receiving federal funding to refrain from promoting medically-sound family planning.
I do not think any of this is very surprising. International maternal health assistance should be based on a scientific, open-minded, non-ideological approach. Family planning should obviously be included.
But opposite us is this pitiful Conservative government, fuelled by right-wing ideology, that hears family planning and immediately thinks abortion and contraception, that hears abortion and immediately sees the hell fires burning.
This government is Manichaean in its ideology and incapable of drawing fine distinctions. Everything is seen in terms of good and evil. Good is the freedom to have a nice little weapon; evil is terminating a pregnancy.
We need to remember whom we are dealing with here, remember it was this government that made pay equity a negotiable right and it was this government that cut the funding for the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health, which does family planning and is affiliated with the International Planned Parenthood Federation. We need to remember that this government has done virtually nothing for aboriginal women and we should remember the women’s program, the court challenges program, the closing of the Status of Women Canada offices and the government’s close ties with REAL Women. We need to remember what this government is.
The Minister of International Cooperation said yesterday in question period that the government was not going to open a debate on abortion. But who in the House is bringing up the abortion issue? Is it the opposition? I do not think so. Who introduced Bill C-484? Was it the opposition? I do not think so. Who said that the purpose of the government’s G8 initiative was to save lives, thereby excluding family planning? Was it the opposition? I do not think so.
What I believe is that when this government says it does not want to have a debate on abortion, it means it has a closed mind on the matter. It means it is refusing to talk about it.
Do the Conservatives want to avoid a debate that might displease our American neighbours? Who knows? Do they want to avoid taking a stand and showing their real face to the world? Who knows? All we know is that they will not revisit the debate.
Studies on this issue are clear. In 2007, the medical journal, The Lancet, stated that of the 42 million abortions performed around the world annually, 35 million of them take place in developing countries. In 2003, 48% of induced abortions happened without any medical assistance. This is a 4% increase since 1995. The authors, including Iqbal Shah of the WHO, wrote:
In developed regions, most abortions (92%) were safe, but in developing countries, more than half (55%) were unsafe...
It is estimated that 97% of unsafe abortions were performed in developing countries.
In Africa, where abortion is highly restricted by law in nearly all countries, there are 650 deaths for every 100,000 procedures, compared with 10 deaths per 100,000 procedures in developed regions. In Liberia, it is common to see lethal complications resulting from illegal abortions that were induced by herbs or unsterilized sharp objects. Such abortions are very common.
Knowing that, who would dare say that abortion is not a public health issue? Who would dare say that professional abortion procedures, in proper hygienic and medical conditions, do not save lives?
Abortions are performed in developing countries, but they are not performed safely. We have the choice of improving medical conditions or doing nothing.
Women are dying. They are bleeding to death because there is no professional support.
Knowing that, should we be taking the abortion debate to the G8? Should we be telling our partners that we are more than willing to support family planning, contraception and abortions, wherever necessary, and ask them to support it as well?
Obviously we should. Not doing so would be akin to not helping someone in danger.
But I am delusional. I forgot who forms the government. I forgot its dogmatism and ideology.
The Conservatives will not put all the options on the table. They will not re-open the debate on abortion. They do not want to upset their fundamentalist base.
I am so very tired of this debate. It makes me so bitter. For the Conservatives, it is not a question of public health or international aid. It is a question of values, their values.
It is easier to change the government than to change the values of the government we have.
And so I would like to personally apologize to the women who are unlucky enough to be born, grow up and become pregnant in a country without proper medical care. I apologize because the government where I live is doing nothing, despite knowing the facts.
November 26th, 2009 / 10:05 a.m.
Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-484, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cracking down on child pornography).
Mr. Speaker, child pornography is nothing less than child abuse. This bill substantially increases the penalties for those who are convicted of indictable offences involving this form of child abuse, for instance distribution of child pornography. It increases the punishment for making or distributing it from 10 to 14 years, increases the maximum penalty for possessing or accessing child pornography from five to ten years, and increases the penalty for all other summary convictions to be a sentence of up to three years instead of 18 months.
As the House well knows, Canada has the sad record of being second in the world for hosting child pornography, for hosting this result of child abuse. We have to crack down and that is why I am pushing forward this motion so that we can protect the children of this country.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)