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

Question No. 256
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Supplementary Estimates (A)
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Today being the last allotted day for the supply period ending December 10, 2003, the House will proceed as usual to the consideration and passage of the appropriation bill.

In view of recent practices, do hon. members agree that the bill be distributed now?

Supplementary Estimates (A)
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Supply
Government Orders

10:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should protect our children from further sexual exploitation by immediately eliminating from child pornography laws all defences for possession of child pornography which allow for the exploitation of children.

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure to rise today to speak on this particular issue. I have been trying to achieve this day for a long time and we are finally here. I hope this will be the day on which we will able to accomplish a real and true victory for the children of our country, because that is what this motion is all about. It is about our kids and the difficulties facing them regarding so many issues in our system that allow crimes against them to be committed.

I want to read the motion to the House. Once again, it states:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should protect our children from further sexual exploitation by immediately eliminating from child pornography laws all defences for possession of child pornography which allow for the exploitation of children.

There is a key word in this motion, which I want to point out to all members, a word that is so important because the arguments against such a motion would not reflect this key word. If people stop and think about it, they will understand why it is so essential that we have this kind of system in place. That word is “exploitation”.

The reason I say this is that when we have discussed child pornography in the past, a number of questions have arisen from members in the House who claimed that any laws that would tighten up this child pornography law to the extent which we are asking for today would mean that parents who had at home a picture of their small children taking their first bath could be prosecuted. I even heard in this House that if some student was carrying around Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet , that could be interpreted as pornography. Or if doctors had nude pictures of a child in their offices for medical reasons, or if psychologists or psychiatrists wanted to do some research in this field and had in their possession certain items of child pornography, that could get them into trouble.

But all those examples do not exploit the child. This is why it is so important to remember that word.

The exploitation of our children has become of epidemic proportions throughout this country. We need only go to our neighbours in Toronto, to the Toronto police force and its sex crimes unit, where they will tell us, as Julian Fantino and other members of the sex crimes unit have stated time and time again, that this is becoming a very serious problem. It is jeopardizing the lives and the welfare of so many kids that it has to be addressed and it needs to be addressed immediately.

This is why I am pleased that we could do this today. I believe that October 28 ought to mark the day when every member in this House says to the people of this nation that October 28 is the day on which we decided, all 301 of us regardless of political stripe, because it is not a political issue, that today we are going to provide victory for the young kids of our country.

For 10 years I have been here and for 10 years many of us from all sides of the House have attempted to address this particular issue, to do something about it, because we do not want to hear about any more young children being abducted and sexually assaulted and then later found murdered.

I talked about Toronto. I think of the incident that happened to the Jones family and their little girl Holly. It absolutely sickens me to think that a young child had to face such a tragic ending to her life. I cannot even imagine what would be going through the hearts of the family of this young girl and those acquainted with her.

We have very good evidence. All of us should have had the evidence presented to us at one time or another. I know my colleagues from Okanagan—Shuswap, Fraser Valley and Calgary Northeast, who have travelled the country and visited penitentiaries, will tell everyone that when we personally visited with those who were in prison for sexually assaulting or murdering a young child, nine out of ten of them said that the reason they got to that point was because they were absolutely hooked on child pornography, and that eventually pictures, images and stories no longer fulfilled their inner needs and they had to act out their fantasies. Their compulsion was overwhelming and it caused them to do what they did.

That has been proven through all kinds of studies. All kinds of people who are involved in the work of psychology or criminology will say that child pornography has played a major role in affecting those adult individuals who have and who will eventually attack our children. There is no doubt about that.

If there were any kind of chemical or substance of any kind, whether it be food or whatever, that would be dangerous to our health, we would react immediately and remove that item. We would get rid of it because we do not want to bring harm upon anyone. For the life of me I cannot understand how a nation can sit by and watch pornography, particularly child pornography, go to the extent it has where it has become a billion dollar industry.

For heaven's sake, people are making big bucks on selling some of the worst garbage anyone could ever imagine and we have allowed it to get to the point where the chiefs of police in various parts of the country are saying that it is getting out of control. They want to do something about it. They want to remove it just like we would remove rotten food from the menu of this place, but their hands are tied because we have not provided them with the ability to do so.

Why do we even want to take the chance of something like that being challenged. Why do the 301 of us not declare today, and today is the day to do it, that child pornography will no longer be part of this nation's environment and that we will eliminate it. The 301 of us from the highest court in the land should send the message to the judges throughout the country that this is the way it will be and that the people in the courts, whenever this kind of material is brought to their attention, will lay charges when it exploits our kids, because that is what it is all about. It is about our kids.

We must not continue to tie the hands of the police. We must give them the tools and the ability to do their jobs so they can do what they want to do most, which is clean up this mess and provide real protection to our kids.

In Toronto, in the sex crimes units, particularly those sex crimes against children, they have confiscated over two million items of child pornography. It is because of the laws that we have on the books now and because of Bill C-20, which will be presented some time in the near future. I understand the justice minister wants it passed before Christmas. However that bill is not the answer. The police have to go through every one of the two million pieces to make absolutely certain that they do not have artistic merit or there is not some public good. Can anyone imagine those officers spending 10 to 12 hours a day only looking at material like that, material that displays a 14 month old baby in diapers being raped and tortured by two adult men, or one and two year old little girls being brutally treated by adult men?

I do not want to get into the graphics of what I have seen. I am sure a lot of members in here have seen what I have seen. It is available to us. We just need to examine what these people are having to do. Can anyone imagine what we would be like after a month or two of that? No one should have to be subjected to that kind of thing.

A law should be in place saying that this kind of material exploits our children and it is not allowed. It should state that people cannot have it in their possession, they cannot produce it, they cannot distribute it and, if they do, they will pay a heavy price through the laws of our land because it is no longer tolerated.

In answer to a question that I asked the justice minister yesterday, he made a statement that the member well knows that Bill C-20 addresses that problem and that the member well knows that the government will do something about this issue. The member for Provencher will address Bill C-20 at greater length than I will, but I can tell the minister that, no, I do not know that, the police do not know that, the courts do not know that and the prosecutors do not know that. It is only the justice minister who thinks he knows that but he has not convinced anyone. He certainly has not convinced the police who to me are the most important people in the land. They should at least be the ones who know that what they have in their hands will be sufficient to put an end to this tragic event that is going on day after day.

This stuff is not just confined to cities. It is now leaking into the rural communities. I have 16 RCMP detachments in my riding and I have contacted most of them. They have said, yes, they have had complaints brought to them regarding child pornography but that the only thing they can do is refer them to the city police for help because they do not have the training, the expertise or the knowledge on how to deal with it.

Let us give them the opportunity. Let us start a national strategy. Let us put some dollars into a worthwhile project. Do not tell me we cannot find the dollars, not when we brag about a $7 billion surplus. Let us put that money to good work by protecting our kids and providing them with some safety.

Statistics have shown that in Canada one out of every two females and one out of every three males will be sexually assaulted in our land. Those are not very good odds. And, yes, it is true, a lot of it is within the family. It is not just strangers on the outside. It may be because mom or dad or both got hooked on some fantasy regarding child pornography and it developed into sexually assaulting their own children.

Some families may focus on the idea of the big bucks the industry brings in and decide to use their own kids and exploit the daylights out of them to get certain things in some material, whether it be a film or picture, and make money through distributing and selling it.

However the reasons do not matter. The point is that we have thousands of families who are victims of severe, horrendous, heinous sexual crimes against kids. What a life they must lead from that point on. What a tragedy and a tragedy that could be prevented.

Chief Fantino said “if only we had the courage, the conviction and the will the problem could be addressed”. Mr. Speaker, I want you to know that Chief Fantino and my colleagues have the courage and the will and we want it done today.

I know for a fact that many members throughout the House on all sides have the same feeling. Today is the day to put our feelings aside and put them into action by supporting the motion and passing it in the House of Commons. All of us have kids in our lives, whether we are moms, dads, grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles or just friends. We all have a connection to some young kids and we want them protected.

Let us not leave here today cheering that we have done this and then nothing happens for awhile. Let us get at it and make it happen. I have seen too many motions passed in the House. I saw a motion on the rights of victims pass in the House but it never went anywhere. The sex registry motion was passed by the House and almost two years later we are still waiting for something to happen.

We cannot wait. Lives are at stake. The safety of the children you know, Mr. Speaker, is at stake. It is time we took some serious action for the sake of our kids. We know the story behind all this and how it has got out of hand. Why do we want to be part of the problem? Let us be the solution today.

Let us put it to the nation that as of October 28, 2003 child pornography and the exploitation of children will no longer be an acceptable activity in this country and that people who engage in it will be in a lot of trouble. Let us stamp it out once and for all. It am not talking about a crime or even something that is bad. I am talking about something that is downright evil, evil that is happening to our children, and it has to stop.

I plead with every mother, grandmother and every other person who feels the way I feel on this issue to contact their MPs and let them know they want action, not just words or a friendly vote at the end of the day, but that something be put in place today. If we have to stay here until 6 o'clock tomorrow morning to get it done I will be here because it is worth doing. Let us get it done before Christmas. I ask the Justice Minister to join the parade. Let us really mean it. We do not need more phony legislation that will not deal with it. If we are going to do it, let us do it right and do it right now.

Supply
Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to pay tribute to the member for Wild Rose for his leadership on this particular subject as well as many other subjects which have to do with the health and well-being of children and families in Canada.

I want to ask the member a question of clarification about the wording of the motion, but I would like to make a brief comment about a concern that I have. It has to do with judicial activism and the insensitivity of the courts to the social and moral values of Canadians. I have seen it even in our own justice committee where many of the members who are in the legal profession are arguing in a sanitized environment in which there does not seem to be the sensitivity to what is right. It is almost mechanical.

The difficulty that I have is, how can we deal with a social injustice like the existence of child pornography, and the possession and the distribution, et cetera, in a sterile, mechanical environment? I hope that one day we will get a better balance on the justice committee so that we can start talking about the underpinning social values that the laws of this country should be reflecting.

I certainly agree with the motion and I will support it. My question is in regard to the motion and I am sure the hon. member will be able to elaborate. It has to do with the last part where it says that it wants to eliminate “from child pornography laws all defences for possession of child pornography which allow for the exploitation of children”.

We all know that the very existence of child pornography means that a child must have been abused. I suspect, and maybe the member would like to clarify, that he is referring to those cases where someone may be in possession of child pornography. It might be, for instance, police officers or special workers who are working on resolving a problem, and those who have had this tragic experience. Does he agree that child pornography in all its forms and the possession of child pornography in itself is an abuse of children?

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10:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member has brought up an important point. It is the very issue that I started my speech off with concerning the key word in the motion which is exploitation.

We know that the police have possession of child pornography. We know that many psychologists and psychiatrists throughout the country might be doing research in this area and will have possession of it. However, we know that they are not the exploiters of child pornography. There would be no reason to bring a charge against these people because they are not exploiting children through this material.

I do not believe there is a police officer or a crown prosecutor or even a judge in this country who would entertain the idea of bringing any of those people to court. Somewhere along the line some common sense has to enter into the picture. If individuals were to have this material in their possession for reasons other than the exploitation of our children, then the police should examine those reasons. The police will know what to do with it. The point is that the seriousness of the exploitation that is going on is completely out of control. If there is a better way to word that, then I would like to know what it would be.

From the articles that I have read, many lawyers and bar associations around the country are saying that Bill C-20 will never meet the charter test. This might possibly be challenged under the charter. If the huge majority of people who run this country make the decision that, regardless of what challenges may be brought forward, this particular material must cease to exist, that decision must be made loud and clear to the courts. They must tell our courts that this material must be removed from the face of the earth and will not be allowed.

If it comes to the point where the charter interferes with that decision, then maybe it is time to consider the notwithstanding clause. I do not believe that the people who created the charter of rights ever dreamed for a moment that it would protect child pornographers. Possibly, some of the things in the charter may not agree with what Canadians believe in, and so there is an out. If we are worried about this, the notwithstanding clause is our out.

Mr. Trudeau and all the fellows who put the charter together were wise enough to know that there may be conflicts so they put the notwithstanding clause in to be used. However, I understand that a large number of people on the government side absolutely refuse to ever use that clause. When it comes to this kind of issue, this is the time to use the notwithstanding clause.

We must put an end to this evil. That is what we are attempting to do today. I believe that through the collective wisdom of the House we can do it and do it right. If it comes to a point, because of judicial activism, that this is declared unconstitutional, then we have an out. We need to consider that out, and we should think about it right from the get go.

The kind of country that we want to live in should not be determined by the judges of our land. That should be determined by the people, either through direct or indirect democracy. They must decide what kind of country they want to live in.

I am sure the member will agree with me that probably 99% of the people of this land do not want to live in a country where child pornography is a major industry. We must end it. However we do it, we must do it and do it quickly.

Supply
Government Orders

10:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, there is a cop-out in a simple phrase. First it was artistic value and now it is for the public good.

I would like to ask my colleague or anyone else who is going to speak today, what part of pornography is acceptable and for the public good?. That phrase is a misnomer. That phrase should never be in the courts. It should never be uttered. What part of pornography could possibly be for the public good?

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10:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, I cannot think of anything nor possibly imagine what kind of idea the courts could come up with regarding the public good.

Another thing that has been brought up is that people should have the freedom of expression. We have all heard that expression. God knows, Mr. Speaker, you have known me for 10 years and you know I would like to express myself in different ways in this House, but I cannot because I am not allowed. You would shut me down in a hurry because it is not allowed.

We do not dare yell “fire” in a theatre or “bomb” in an airport. Freedom of expression is not just wide open. So, no one can tell me that exploitation of a child through child pornography is freedom of expression. That is totally unacceptable and there is no public good when it comes to exploiting our children. It must end.

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10:40 a.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot, ON

Mr. Speaker, I notice the motion is worded very carefully. I would like the member to clarify that he associates child pornography with pictures, writings or whatever that actually have a real victim rather than the meanderings of some people writing or drawing in their own private home. There has to be a real victim.

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10:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is simply the statement of a cop-out.

As far as I am concerned and most Canadians are concerned, any time we dwell on that, whether we are writing, sketching or whatever, even the activity itself is dangerous to our kids. It is an activity that must absolutely not be done.

I am not saying that we should bring a charge against a man and throw him in jail. I am saying that there is a man who has a problem. If he is 64 years old and cannot do anything except draw dirty pictures and write silly stories regarding the exploitation of children, he needs help.

I am sure a good legal system would recognize the difference between an individual like that and a person who is actually making a victim of a real child. Believe me, we know that over 10,000 kids in the City of Toronto have been identified as real victims in this industry, and that is a shame.

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October 28th, 2003 / 10:45 a.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today on a subject the government holds to be fundamental, that is, ensuring that we, as a society, can provide all the protection our young people deserve against people who commit the hideous crime of child pornography. It is a crime that has no place in Canadian society. And when I look at our relationships with the G-8 countries, I can say it is a crime that has no place in the world.

I am looking at the motion put forward by our colleagues in the Canadian Alliance. Essentially, this motion asks the government to eliminate all possible defences for possession of child pornography, which allow for the exploitation of children.

The basic motivation behind this motion is the desire to protect our children from all forms of sexual exploitation. I believe, when I look at all the parties and all the hon. members of this House, that each one of us has the same desire and that is that we want to take whatever action is possible to make sure that we can provide young Canadians with this kind of protection.

As I said before, this objective is at the heart of the government's ongoing commitment to protecting children from exploitation and all forms of mistreatment. This commitment was recently expressed in Bill C-20, an act to amend the Criminal Code (protection of children and other vulnerable persons) and the Canada Evidence Act, which I introduced myself on December 5, 2002.

The preamble to Bill C-20 echoes the importance of the issues addressed by the motion. In particular, the preamble notes:

--the Parliament of Canada has grave concerns regarding the vulnerability of children to all forms of exploitation, including child pornography, sexual exploitation, abuse and neglect;

As hon. members know, there are five key components of Bill C-20: first, strengthening the child pornography provisions; second, providing better protection to young persons against sexual exploitation; third, strengthening sentencing provisions related to offences against children; fourth, facilitating testimony by child victims and witnesses and other vulnerable witnesses; and fifth, modernizing the criminal law by creating a new voyeurism offence.

I welcome this motion because I believe Bill C-20 delivers what is proposed by the motion.

Currently, the Criminal Code provides a defence for material that has artistic merit or serves an educational, scientific or medical purpose. It also makes the public good defence available for all child pornography offences.

Hon. members will recall that the constitutionality of the offence of possession of child pornography was considered by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2001 in the Sharpe case. In its decision, the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed Parliament's goal of protecting children from sexual exploitation through child pornography.

A key element in the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the constitutionality of the overall child pornography scheme was the existence of the current child pornography defences.

Bill C-20 is consistent with the Supreme Court decision. It is intended to simplify and reduce the number of defences that now exist, merging them into one defence based on the public good. In each case, the validity of this defence will be determined in two stages.

First, does the material or act in question serve the public good? If it does not, then there will be no defence. Second, even if it does serve the public good, does it go beyond what serves the public good? If it goes beyond, then there will be no defence. In other words, does the risk of harm posed by an act or material in question outweigh any potential benefit to society? If it does, no defence will be available. This is what today's motion proposes.

Let me explain what is meant by public good because this concept has been misunderstood by some.

In the recent Sharpe case, the Supreme Court of Canada considered a public good defence specifically in the context of child pornography, including the meaning of public good. The Supreme Court noted that the public good had been interpreted as including matters that were necessary or advantageous to the administration of justice, the pursuit of science, literature, art or other objects of general interest.

This interpretation is perhaps more clearly understood if one considers how it might operate at a practical level. For example, the administration of justice would include the possession of child pornography as part of a police investigation of a child pornography offence, the possession of child pornography by crown prosecutors for the purpose of prosecuting a child pornography offence and the possession of child pornography by police and prosecutors for the purpose of providing training to police and prosecutors on the conduct of child pornography investigations and prosecutions or even for the purpose of providing educational session to parliamentarians on the harms of child pornography.

All these purposes fall within the administration of justice and all of them necessarily require police and prosecutors to possess child pornography to do their job, a job which the government recognizes as serving the public good.

Bill C-20 recognizes that law enforcement officials must be able to track down child pornographers and protect victims. They are performing a difficult job which serves the public interest and, therefore, they should have the protection of the law.

Consider another example: a journalist who is doing an investigative news story on a child pornography ring. In the course of exposing the child porn ring, this journalist may come into contact with material that constitutes child porn. Again, this expose serves the public good and, as a society, we value this kind of work. Again I believe that this approach is consistent with today's motion.

The proposal in Bill C-20 of a single defence of public good also adds another criterion that is not currently provided for in the artistic merit defence.

Under the current artistic merit defence, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, any objectively established artistic value provides a complete defence. From that perspective, there is no requirement to balance this merit, or good, against any potential harm to society.

Under Bill C-20, the courts must also take into account a second criterion, namely whether the “good” served by an act or any material related to an act offsets potential harm.

Just because there is only one defence, based on public good, does not mean that the legislator is suggesting that child pornography is acceptable. Clearly this is not the case. The government has taken very tangible steps, which denounce child pornography in no uncertain terms.

Bill C-20 proposes another reform with respect to child pornography. It proposes broadening the definition of written child pornography to include materials that advocate or counsel prohibited sexual activity with children, and also materials that describe prohibited sexual activity with children where the written descriptions of that activity are the dominant characteristic of the material and the material was written for a sexual purpose.

The bill includes this proposal because the government recognizes the harm this type of material can cause to children and to Canadian society by describing children as objects of sexual exploitation.

As well, I want to emphasize that the proposals in Bill C-20 seek better protection against sexual exploitation through child pornography in a manner that will withstand charter scrutiny.

The government takes very seriously its responsibility to protect children against all forms of sexual exploitation, including child pornography, as well as its responsibility to uphold the charter. I repeat that it is not a question of doing one or the other. Bill C-20 does both.

The purpose of Bill C-20 is to refine all the prohibitions already in place in Canada with respect to child pornography, prohibitions which are among the strictest in the world.

Since 1993, it has been an offence under the Criminal Code to make, print, publish or possess for the purpose of publication any child pornography, to import, distribute, sell or possess for the purpose of distribution or sale any child pornography, or to possess any child pornography.

Since July 2002, and as a result of Bill C-15A, it has also been an offence under the Criminal Code to transmit, make available or export child pornography or possess child pornography for the purpose of transmission, making available or exporting, as well as to access child pornography.

The same set of reforms also allowed the courts to order child pornography deleted from computer systems, including websites in Canada, and created the new offence of using a computer system in a way, such as through the Internet, to communicate with a child for the purpose of committing a sexual offence against that child.

In addition to these important legislative measures, the government continues to work with its G-8 partners in developing a common strategy to counter the exploitation of children via the Internet. This strategy is comprised of measures to improve international cooperation, prevention, public awareness and local actions in other countries.

There is one extremely important point to be made here. We in Canada have one of the toughest laws in the world, born of our desire to fight tenaciously against this crime, which is so fundamentally heinous and has no place whatsoever in our society, or indeed in any other.

We are well aware, however, that this crime is now taking on a new dimension, a new form because of the variety of means of communication now available, including the Internet. Because of these new technologies, crime is no longer limited by borders.

It goes without saying that perhaps what is required first and foremost to remedy this situation properly is good international cooperation. At the last G-8 meeting in Paris, we had an opportunity to discuss stepping up cooperation and to examine certain studies carried out, precisely with a view to determining solid bases for that cooperation.

We also had the opportunity at that time to hear the views of others involved in international investigations. Once again, they demonstrated the importance of working together internationally in order to ensure that we are able to seek and destroy these networks wherever they are established, even if they work out of countries that may be somewhat less vigilant as far as their legislation or police intervention is concerned.

As Minister of Justice it is my responsibility to ensure that our criminal laws, our policies and indeed the criminal justice system itself reflect evolving Canadian values and emerging justice issues.

The government recognizes the importance of ensuring a strong and effective criminal law response to child pornography. Our children represent our future. We will not allow the most vulnerable in our society to be victimized by pornography. That is what Canadians expect us to do.

The protection of children bill is currently before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. I call on hon. members to protect our children by supporting Bill C-20 and to ensure its swift passage. This will enable Canada to continue to be a world leader in the fight against child pornography and the protection of our children.

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11 a.m.

An hon. member

It will never happen.

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11 a.m.

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Outremont, QC

I cannot believe what I just heard from the other side. I am counting on members to support me and pass Bill C-20 in order to ensure that as a country we keep giving our young the best protection in the world. The member just said that the passing of Bill C-20 will never happen. This is a disgusting comment.

We believe that Canada as a society needs Bill C-20 in order to increase the protection of children. As well we need Bill C-20 in order to answer the Sharpe decision.

It does not take a rocket scientist to understand what the government is doing. We are working for the future of our nation. Listen to what was just said. He said no to the passing of Bill C-20. He should be ashamed.

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11 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, I find it amazing that the justice minister would go on with that rhetoric.

Since 1993 the government has been in charge of this issue. It is now 2003. For the member's information, it is a lot worse in 2003 than it has ever been. That is what the police departments told the committee. I know the minister knows it. He has heard it time and time again. He has heard it from the lawyers throughout the country time and time again. Bill C-20 does not cut it. The rhetoric goes on. It is not the answer. We need more than that.

The minister talked about public good. Of course if a journalist wants to investigate a pornography ring to break it up and bring it to light, that is for the good of the public. Nobody denies that. All the hours of hard work the police are doing and having all of what they confiscate in their possession, of course that is for the good of the public. One does not have to be very smart to figure that out. People who try to figure out why people do these things against our kids, the psychologists, psychiatrists, or whatever they are, and they have the material in their possession for research and whatever, of course that is for the good of the public. Nobody argues that.

At the present time it sounds to me that the police departments that have this material in their possession once again will have to spend hours going through the material to make absolutely certain that it is not for the public good, piece by piece, like they do now for artistic merit. That has not been taken care of.

I find it strange that the justice minister would jump up, point a finger over here and say we are saying it will never happen. It is the police and the lawyers who are saying that the bill is not good enough. The only ones who are saying it is good enough are the justice minister and others in that front row. If they cannot get it right, they should redo it. They have the opportunity by supporting a motion like this one.

The exploitation of children must come to an end. Bill C-20 will not accomplish that, as testified to by all the experts. I am no expert. I am repeating their words. And by George, the minister is no expert either. He ought to listen to them. Why will he not listen to them?

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11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am going to go through a few items that I have here and after that, I am going to ask one very simple question.

The aim and goal of the government, and it is a top priority, is to offer the best protection we can to our children and to do everything we can as a government and as a society to protect our children. They are our future.