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 pornography.

Topics

Supply
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Hillsborough, PE

Mr. Speaker, I prefer to keep my comments to this particular motion. I have not seen the bill. I have not studied it. I have not analyzed it. Certainly I would agree with the speaker's last words, “We must do everything in our power to stamp out child pornography”. I agree with him on that.

Supply
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member's speech. I know he is a lawyer. When we went through some of the debates on Bill C-20, the issues of artistic merit and public good, these nebulous ideas, came up. I wonder if the member could give us his comments about balancing the interests of two parties, that is, the need to protect the public good and the need to protect those who might argue artistic merit. If there is no rehabilitative progress demonstrated by people who have a preponderance or propensity to be possessors of pornography or to be pedophiles or whatever, is there in our system a bias which would say that if we are going to err, then we should err on the side of protecting the children before the rights of another?

Supply
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Hillsborough, PE

Mr. Speaker, the difficulty we sometimes get into with these arguments is that we argue the law based upon the case we are talking about. I can go right back to the Sharpe case for that matter, but other factual examples have been illustrated here this afternoon, which everyone in the House and everyone in this country find disgusting. Any talk or suggestion of or any lawyer getting up on his hind legs and talking about artistic merit is ridiculous and should not be countenanced by the judge or by society.

There would be a certain element of artistic merit, but we must not forget that there are two tests now and the benefit has to outweigh the harm. I do not see how it could ever come to be, in the situations we are talking about, in regard to the offenders we are talking about, or what is going on out there, that artistic merit would enter into the equation at all.

Supply
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Larry Spencer Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is not always a privilege to have to stand in these kinds of debates, but it is a privilege to stand on behalf of the children of our nation. I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Edmonton North.

First of all, I want to talk a little bit about the reality of child pornography. There was a headline story on CTV News on January 16 about a global pornography investigation covering more than 2,300 people in Canada. That is only one investigation and that is how many people they found connected in our country, so we cannot dismiss this problem as being somewhere else in the world.

As a part of the conference entitled “Rethinking The Line: The Canada-U.S. Border”, Dr. Max Taylor of the University College, Cork, Ireland, said that each week his team collects about a thousand child pornography images from 60 different Internet news groups and that there is quite a number of children being added to these sites every week as time goes on. It is a growing problem and we need to remember that.

Bill C-20 has its weaknesses. The bill does not address sufficiently how to get the convictions and how to cut down on this international problem.

We sometimes forget about the plans of the pornographers. We pass over that and we talk about things such as community good or artistic merit.

However, the plans of the pornographers are these. Number one is to familiarize, to familiarize the community and familiarize children with these kinds of scenes because that leads to desensitizing them. The children become less sensitive to those kinds of things. They begin to accept them as normal. In other words, they sanitize. They familiarize and desensitize and then they sanitize it until it seems like that is what everyone else is doing, which then makes it more normal.

So the guard comes down. The red flags are buried. The pornographers can then move on to tantalize and actually tempt people to move into sexual experiences with other kids, with adults and in all kinds of situations that are set out. There is no reason for this kind of pornography to be made other than to use it as a tool to recruit and enlist other victims.

The results of sexual abuse on children are so awful and so terrible that we are very hesitant many times to speak about that. I want to make that the major part of what I want to say today.

I will read a quote for members, the source of which is a book by Tsai and Wagner, 1984:

Sexual victimization may profoundly interfere with and alter the development of attitudes toward self, sexuality, and trusting relationships during the critical early years of development.

It interrupts the development of a child.

Then, from Whitlock and Gillman, in 1989, there is this quote:

Sexuality is regarded not simply as a part of the self limited to genitals, discrete behaviours, or biological aspects of reproduction, but is more properly understood as one component of the total personality that affects one's concept of personal identity and self-esteem.

There is a great impact, in other words, on the life of a child who has experienced sexual abuse.

I asked Kathy Broady, the clinical director of AbuseConsultants.com, for a quick, short list of consequences observable in children who are suffering from sexual abuse. Let me give part of that list and then follow with a quote from Ms. Broady.

She wrote as number one: fear, mistrust, abandonment issues, intense clinginess to the safe person, and no trust in people. Number two: withdrawal from friends or no friends, no normal play, not smiling, and not happy, and the withdrawal from society continues in comparison to how serious the abuse is. Number three: depression, suicidal thoughts and behaviour, anger, acting out, and serious misbehaviour. Number four: eating disorders, self-injuries, and addiction to drugs, alcohol and other substances.

I have heard of how some of these children act when they are being sexually abused; they can be very young and do this. Sometimes we might see a child sitting alone, sitting in a corner or sitting in a private place, and we might see that child rocking. We might see that child displaying nervous symptoms or slapping itself, hitting itself on the head or pulling its own hair. Sometimes that is what happens when children are being subjected to sexual abuse, and that abuse does not even have to be severe.

Ms. Broady has given me this quote:

Severe childhood sexual abuse literally steals a lifetime of productivity, happiness, fulfillment, and peace from its victims.

The Internet and child pornography on the Internet and in other forms is a recruiting tool to reach children and to bring them in to the sex trade on many occasions.

Children who have been severely sexually abused and sold into the sex slave industry experience a great number of negative impacts. I am going to give members only a few of those listed by survivors in a survey that was done by AbuseConsultants.com, a survey, by the way, in which those impacts cover 50 pages in a book. I will give members less than one page.

The first category was “constant fear and no sense of safety or security anywhere, any time”. The survivors listed these points:

One: Constant fear about something, anything, always. Two: No peace, no ability to relax, constant hyper-vigilance. Three: Inappropriate or extreme responses to problems. Four: Always waiting and anticipating the next bad thing that will happen. Five: Very fatalistic thinking, preparing for doomsday--because “bad stuff” did happen so frequently, repeatedly, it was the one constant that could be expected, therefore, “it's best to always be prepared for and expecting the worst”.

Those were comments made by abuse survivors. There is one more category: self-harm. It may come as a surprise to some as to what actually can happen. It is as follows:

One: Cutting--wrists, arms, legs, stomachs, breasts, genitalia, face, absolutely anywhere. Two: Burning--by cigarettes, fire, stoves, scalding water. Three: Stabbing--legs, stomachs, vagina, abdomen.

Mr. Speaker, I remind you, these are the things these victims are doing to themselves. It is not the abuse; it is what they do to themselves because of the abuse.

Also included are:

Five: Slapping face, legs, private areas, anything anywhere. Six: Mutilation of any sort in any place by any means. Seven: Scraping layers of skin off the entire face or genitalia. Eight: Strangulation, hangings. Nine: Overdoses of drugs and alcohol. Ten: Jumping off bridges or throwing themselves in front of traffic.

This problem creates some horrendous repercussions. I will quote from a book by about five authors, not all of whom I will list:

Early identification of sexual abuse victims appears to be crucial to the reduction of suffering of abused youth and to the establishment of support systems for assistance in pursuing appropriate psychological development and healthier adult functioning. As long as disclosure continues to be a problem for young victims, then fear, suffering, and psychological distress will, like the secret, remain forever with the victim

I say that because there is something that resides there and so many people deny the awfulness of this.

What is the responsibility of Parliament? It is the protection of the citizens, protection of the vulnerable; it is to deal with the truth and make value judgments, making sure that the laws of this country are the very best possible.

We cannot allow Bill C-20 or any other bill that would address child pornography to fall so far short of dealing entirely with the situation and that would be to do. In the words of my colleague from Wild Rose, let us stamp out child pornography.

Business of the House
Government Orders

October 28th, 2003 / 4:20 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among all parties in the House through the House leaders regarding Bill C-36. I am very pleased to announce that an agreement has been arrived at. It will take me a couple of minutes to read it into the record and to seek the unanimous consent for which it has already been agreed. A copy of what I am going to say has already been served to the desks across the way and the table also has a copy. I move:

That Bill C-36, in Clause 21, be amended by replacing lines 33 to 40 on page 9 and lines 1 to 26 on page 10, with the following:

Works not public before December 31, 1998

(3) Where

(a) a work has not, before December 31, 1998, been published or performed in public or communicated to the public by telecommunication,

(b) subsection (1) would apply to that work if it had been published or performed in public or communicated to the public by telecommunication before December 31, 1998, and

(c) the relevant death referred to in subsection (1) occurred after December 30, 1948 and before December 31, 1998, copyright shall subsist in the work until the end of 2048, whether or not the work is published or performed in public or communicated to the public by telecommunication after December 30, 1998.

Works not public before December 31, 1998

(4) Where

(a) a work has not, before December 31, 1998, been published or performed in public or communicated to the public by telecommunication,

(b) subsection (1) would apply to that work if it had been published or performed in public or communicated to the public by telecommunication before December 31, 1998, and

(c) the relevant death referred to in subsection (1) occurred before December 31, 1948, copyright shall subsist in the work until the end of 2006, whether or not the work is published or performed in public or communicated to the public by telecommunication after December 30, 1998.

Those are the changes unanimously agreed to and I submit them to the House for unanimous consent.

Business of the House
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Is there unanimous consent to adopt the motion?

Business of the House
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

Bill C-36. On the Order: Government Orders

October 28, 2003--the Minister of Canadian Heritage--Third reading of Bill C-36, an act to establish the Library and Archives of Canada, and to amend the Copyright Act and to amend certain acts in consequence.

Library and Archives of Canada Act
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that Bill C-36, as amended, be deemed to have been now read a third time and passed on division.

Library and Archives of Canada Act
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Is that agreed?

Library and Archives of Canada Act
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Bill, as amended, read the third time and passed)

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Supply
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, in Bill C-20 the government proposes public good as a defence. It is such a vague term that I think it could take years for that to be defined. Experts at committee have said that the problem with putting a very vague defence into the law is that it does not serve as a deterrent and that we are going to have the courts clogged up with defendants saying that they are not guilty because they think there is a chance of public good. Would the member care to comment on that?

Supply
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Larry Spencer Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, yes, I would be glad to comment on that because I believe the defence of public good simply is another way of camouflaging and replacing the defence of artistic merit. It is just as nebulous.

I believe there is a better way to do it. If we want some kind of protection for those who may be using this kind of material, for example, the police in their investigations, the psychologists and the psychiatrists in their treatment procedures and the teachers, perhaps, we could in fact list those categories of people who, in the performance of their duties, would allowed to do that. That would be better than simply leaving something nebulous like for community good.

It does not take a whole lot of thinking to figure out there is a better way to tighten it up, and I think it needs to be tightened up very much.

Supply
Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Reed Elley Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague from Regina for a very fine speech today.

One concern, particularly those of us in the opposition benches have, is that very often we propose these very good motions, motions that really the government should be introducing if it were really sensing how Canadians were feeling about important issues. Oftentimes the government will vote for our motions because it believes it is bringing in legislation that includes the motion already or it simply thinks it is politically expedient to vote for them because there is an election coming or for whatever reason. We get near unanimous agreement in the House on these motions and then they simply sit and the government never does anything about them.

I think of my good friend from Prince George—Bulkley Valley who fought for years to bring in tougher laws for drunk drivers.

I think of my good friend from Langley—Abbotsford who brought in the national sex offenders registry. It passed unanimously in this House and it took the government ages to simply get on with it.

Does the hon. member have any advice for the government as to what it should do now, if indeed we have unanimous consent on this motion at the end of the day?

Supply
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Larry Spencer Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I think the government can figure out better than we can how to speed things up. We see it doing it all the time with its stuff.

The smoke and mirrors that goes on is the first thing that needs to go. The government needs to have willingness to recognize some weaknesses in Bill C-20, fix it immediately and get it on the table in a way that will actually provide the kind of protection for which this motion asks. The fastest way I know is to put the right stuff in the bill, which is already in the process, and get it moving.