House of Commons Hansard #145 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was child.

Topics

Supply
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the motion before us is a very important one. We have discussed this subject matter on a couple of occasions. Bill C-20 brought substantial debate to this place with regard to matters such as artistic merit, public good, exploitation, et cetera.

The essence of the motion is that all defences for the possession of child pornography be eliminated. It is an excellent idea and we should do it. We understand that law enforcement officers and others who are working to resolve or deal with the issue would be authorized to have possession, but it is those who would exploit children through that possession who are the targets.

I am told that a total crackdown on child pornography is happening in other jurisdictions, for example, in the U.K. From the type of responses it is getting, it is sending out a strong message of deterrence and a message that embraces public protection. It is probably the biggest change from what I can see in the Canadian experience. That is why I believe that in itself it is what we should be doing in Canada.

In our justice system sentences available to judges should send a message of deterrence, keeping in mind the balance necessary at least to try to rehabilitate. In this case, with regard to the issues of child pornography and individuals who engage in the manufacture, production and proliferation of child pornography, just as those involved in pedophilia and sexual assaults, the chances for rehabilitation are very small.

Mr. Speaker, I neglected to mention I am going to split my time with the member for Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge.

If there is very little chance of rehabilitation, then clearly the emphasis has to be put on public protection. I think that is what the member for Wild Rose has been telling this place for years. It is about time we listened to him.

There was a question posed during the debate on Bill C-30, which I think in itself was a very good debate. The question was what possible public good or merit could be found in something that exploits children? How is it that lawyers actually come up with this terminology? How do they think the public would respond when someone is trying to play both sides of the fence rather than taking a position? What ever happened to a proactive legislative system that addressed problems in a proactive way, rather than trying to be all things to all people at all times? It means that we more often fail than we pass the test of whether or not our legislation is effective.

Points of Order
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise again on a point of order, I think you will find that there is unanimous consent among the parties now for me to table the letter, my response to the Secretary of State for Western Economic Diversification, in both official languages.

Points of Order
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Does the hon. member for St. Albert have unanimous consent to table his response?

Points of Order
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Supply
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, in looking back at some of that debate, another statement caught my attention and it probably is reflective of the attitude of the House. That is that the public good, whatever that nebulous concept is, can never be served where there is a tolerance for child pornography. The existence of that tolerance is really at issue.

I do not think there is any more important issue we could address when it comes to the protection of children, those who are unable to protect themselves, those who would be the victims of exploitation. We have to be their voice. Where is the leadership? Have we shown leadership? How can we show leadership? We have to ask those questions.

I asked a question earlier of the member for Wild Rose. In my experience it appears that lawyers look at these questions in a very sterile environment and a very mechanical way. They do not seem to be very reflective of social and moral values. They do not seem to be sensitive to the victim. They seem to continue to look for ways to argue how to balance the interests of the victim and the perpetrator because of the charter of rights.

Where exactly does the charter of rights say that it is more important to balance the interests of a criminal and a victim? I thought the charter was there to protect the affirmative rights of Canadians, the rights to be protected. How did the paradigm shift and all of a sudden the charter has been interpreted in so many different ways? How is it that we are now seized with the issue of judicial activism?

On same sex marriage issues, what happened in the Ontario Court of Appeal that after hearing the pronouncement of the Supreme Court of Canada three judges could say that the traditional definition of marriage being the legal union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others is unconstitutional? Marriage existed before the Constitution. How could something be unconstitutional?

We are in a spiral. When these issues come forward where charter arguments have been made, it is clear that we are losing the battle unless we seize the day. We need to seize the day. We need to express ourselves in a manner which reflects not only the founding principles of justice, but also which fairly reflects the social, moral and family values of Canadians.

Who in this place is not going to put the interests of a child ahead of the interests of a perpetrator or someone who possesses child pornography? Who is going to balance that?

When the Supreme Court of Canada dealt with the abortion issue, it made a decision to put the rights of the mother ahead of the rights of the unborn child. It was not a matter of when life begins. It was not a matter of was there a child or were there rights for that child. The judges did not decide. They did not opine on that. They made a decision that they would put the rights of one party ahead of another.

If we can do that, if the courts can do that, why can we not put the rights of children ahead of the rights of those who possess child pornography? Why do we have to balance it? We did not balance the interests of the unborn. We do not have to.

If that is the way it works, let us apply the laws consistently. Let us make sure that the rights of children are put ahead of the rights of those who believe there is some artistic merit, who somehow believe there is some public good in what they do. The very existence of child pornography necessarily means that a child has been abused. I do not know if there is a member in this place who would not agree with that.

Why is it then that we cannot embrace a motion like this one which effectively reflects that commitment, that understanding and that support? We all have to support this motion to send a message to those in the justice system, to send a message to the courts so that Parliament, the supreme court of the land will have its views known. Then we can effectively deal with the erosion of the rights of Canadians because of judicial activism.

Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

We will now move on to members' statements. The hon. member for Mississauga South will have five minutes remaining in questions and comments after question period.

Don Deacon
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Hillsborough, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour and pay tribute to a well-known Charlottetown resident, Don Deacon, who died in Charlottetown on September 16.

Don Deacon embodied the concept of service to this country and the people who live here. He gave freely of his time and resources without thought of his own benefit.

After returning from serving his country during the second world war, Don Deacon volunteered for a variety of organizations, of which I will name only a few. He was national commissioner of Scouts Canada, the founding co-chair of the Katimavik youth program, director of the Trans Canada Trail Foundation, founding president of Island Trails, and president of the Prince Edward Island Region of the Red Cross. He received the Order of Canada for his service and was named P.E.I. Red Cross Humanitarian of the year last March.

After a successful career in business and politics in Ontario, he relocated to Prince Edward Island about 20 years ago and quickly became one of our most cherished citizens.

His warmth and caring were legendary and he will be sorely missed. On behalf of this House, we offer our sympathy to his wife Florence and to his family.

Rural Woman of the Year
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Reed Elley Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, today I want to pay tribute to a constituent of mine: Anthea Archer. Anthea, along with her husband Darrel, was caught up in the unfortunate consequences of mad cow disease when a reported case in Denmark meant the destruction of their water buffalo herd by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency a couple of years ago.

This scenario sounds all too familiar to beef producers across the country, who are still waiting for the government to persuade the Americans to open the border, and to alpaca and llama farmers in my riding, who, amazingly, have also had their wool exports curtailed because of this mess.

Despite an uncaring federal government and little help from traditional financial institutions, Anthea has been tenacious in her desire to stick to the original plan and, with her husband, build the first water buffalo herd in Canada. This innovative entrepreneurial business will provide cheese and meat, low in fat and rich in protein.

Anthea recently received the Rural Woman of the Year award from the South Vancouver Island Women's Institute. I salute her as a Canadian who has shown much grace under fire and the ability to move on in spite of the challenges she has faced. I say well done, Anthea. We in the Cowichan Valley are proud of her work.

Assisted Human Reproduction
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, for too long Canadian women and their children have waited for Parliament to pass legislation on assisted human reproduction and genetic technologies.

Bill C-13 is the result of more than a decade of careful consideration and consultation that is designed to protect the health and safety of women and the children born to them through assisted human reproduction.

This legislation is all about hope: hope for couples struggling with infertility and hope for Canadians with disabilities such as Parkinson's, MS and leukemia. And let us not forget the children born with juvenile diabetes, who would benefit from research into the use of stem cells to treat these diseases. An open letter released on October 25 by 65 leading health care experts calls on Parliament to pass Bill C-13.

As parliamentarians, we have a responsibility to put in place a framework to regulate aspects of reproductive technology and to act now in the best interests of hundreds of Canadian families who have waited so long for this to happen.

Child Pornography
Statements By Members

October 28th, 2003 / 2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Darrel Stinson Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, when nine year old Cecilia Zhang was abducted from her bedroom last week, it seemed as if not only her family and her community but also our entire country started holding our breath. We are all praying for her safe return, but Canada's children need more than prayers. They need good laws to protect them from abuse. Instead, this Liberal government has put forward Bill C-20, which still allows the defence of “public good” for child pornographers.

We need to give our police the tools they need to catch child abusers. Instead, Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino recently told an international group that he was ashamed of Canada's weak efforts to protect our children.

Finally, we need judges to sentence child abusers to maximum penalties instead of some actually getting house arrest.

This Liberal government is totally out of step with the concerns of Canadians in its disgustingly weak efforts to protect what we all hold dearest: our children.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and an opportunity for me to thank a Burlington constituent for his work in raising money to fight this disease.

Seven years ago, Paul DeKort founded Clothing for Charity, whose bins collect used clothing donations. Clothes are distributed free of charge to women's shelters or sold to textile recyclers, with a substantial portion of the proceeds donated to the Breast Cancer Health Fund of Canada.

Clothing for Charity has donated over $100,000 to Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital in Burlington for it to buy a breast cancer diagnostic machine.

Mr. DeKort has also provided substantial assistance to an awesome Burlington organization: Breast Cancer Support Services. His recent donation of $175,000 enabled BCSS to purchase a secure and welcoming home from which to operate.

I ask colleagues to please join me in thanking Mr. DeKort for his outstanding efforts to make a real difference in the fight against breast cancer.

Landmines
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, last night I attended a very special dinner, the first of many of “The Night of a Thousand Dinners” to raise money for the removal of landmines.

Every year the Canadian Landmine Foundation and Adopt-a-Minefield ask individuals to host an event around the first Thursday in November. Guests bring donations toward landmine removal projects in six countries.

While it only costs $3 to plant a landmine, it requires $1,000 to remove one. Canada took the lead in the Ottawa treaty banning anti-personnel landmines, but there are still 45 million to 50 million landmines in the ground in at least 70 countries. They kill or maim over 15,000 people every year. The true tragedy of landmines is that they continue to destroy lives, often those of innocent children, long after the conflict has ended.

We as Canadians are all too personally familiar with the terrible effects of landmines, as just a few weeks ago we saw two of our own brave soldiers become victims.

I encourage my fellow parliamentarians and all Canadians to follow the lead of our colleagues in the other place and sponsor a landmine dinner this year.

William Kalleo
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence O'Brien Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness that I rise to pay respects to William Kalleo of Nain, Labrador.

William was a pioneer broadcaster who was devoted to serving the Labrador Inuit. He was forceful as an interviewer, excelled as a translator, and was an eloquent advocate for his people and language.

Whenever I was in Nain I looked forward to coffee and conversation not only with William the journalist but also with William the community leader. He was always generous with his time and his spirit.

While he fought and lost the battle with cancer, his spirit will live on. To his family and his colleagues at the OKalaKatiget Society, I wish to express the condolences of the people of Labrador. Atsunai ilannâk. Goodbye, old friend.

Réseau des organisateurs de spectacles de l'est du Québec
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski-Neigette-Et-La Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, this year, the Réseau des organisateurs de spectacles de l'est du Québec, or ROSEQ for short, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Many vocal artists gathered in Rimouski for the occasion to show the solidarity of this network, which, since 1978, has brought distributors out of their isolation and ensured quality performances throughout the eastern Quebec region. ROSEQ, the oldest and largest such network in Quebec, which began with 4 distributors and now has 32, has uncovered talented artists year after year.

Bravo to this collaboration of artists and those behind the scenes, who have blended their structural differences and their means of expression with creativity and talent and who seem to be here for a long time.

Bravo to ROSEQ and our thanks to arts promoters in eastern Quebec.