House of Commons Hansard #22 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gary Lunn Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition has been certified by 151 constituents of Saanich--Gulf Islands who pray that Parliament pass legislation to recognize the institution of marriage in federal law as being the lifelong union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of presenting two petitions this afternoon. The first petition is signed by hundreds of residents from my constituency of Burnaby--Douglas, as well as other residents of British Columbia.

The petitioners note that same sex couples form loving and committed relationships but are currently denied the equal ability to celebrate those relationships through marriage in a number of jurisdictions in Canada.

They point out that the protection of true family values requires that all families be respected equally and they note the provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guaranteeing equality of all Canadians, including gay and lesbian couples. They point out that denying same sex couples the equal right to marry reinforces attitudes of intolerance and discrimination.

They therefore call upon Parliament to enact legislation that would provide same sex couples with the equal right to marry.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a second petition which is signed by hundreds of residents of the greater Toronto area. In particular, I want to note the work of the Worker-to-Worker Canada-Cuba Labour Solidarity Committee in assembling these signatures.

The petitioners express concern about the Helms-Burton law, which has been legislated in the United States, and concern about our own Canadian government's lack of action concerning companies in Canada that have cancelled contracts with Cuba in order to comply with U.S. pressures.

They raise serious questions about the impact on Canadian sovereignty and they call upon Parliament to defend both Cuba and Canada by prosecuting any company operating in Canada that cancels contracts with Cuba in order to comply with the Helms-Burton law.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I wish to present several petitions on behalf of hundreds of Canadians who call upon Parliament to take whatever action is required to maintain the current definition of marriage in law in perpetuity and to prevent any court from overturning or amending that definition.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have thousands of signatures to submit to the House in support of Carley's law.

The petitioners say that whereas hit and run legislation in its current state does not provide an adequate sentence to offenders who leave the scene of an accident; and whereas an accused, who has control over the vehicle, who fails to stop at the scene of an accident should receive a minimum sentence of seven years for an accident causing death and a minimum of four years for an accident resulting in bodily harm; and whereas prosecutors should not be able to offer those accused of fleeing the scene of an accident the opportunity to plead guilty to an offence with a lesser punishment, they ask that the government vote in favour of Bill C-453, an act to amend the Criminal Code, failure to stop at the scene of an accident. This is in support of Carley's law.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present petitions on the topic of the right of Parliament to determine and preserve the definition of marriage. These petitioners come from the province of Saskatchewan, many of them from my riding, and there are hundreds of signatures here.

They take note that Parliament in 1999 voted to preserve the traditional definition of marriage and a recent court decision has redefined marriage, contrary to the wishes of Parliament. Now the government wants Parliament to vote on new legislation but only after it has been approved by the Supreme Court. This is a dangerous new precedent for democracy in Canada and elected members of Parliament should decide the marriage issue, not appointed judges.

They therefore call upon Parliament to immediately hold a renewed debate on the definition of marriage and to reaffirm, as it did in 1999, its commitment to take all necessary steps to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Maurice Vellacott Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have some 500 signatures on a petition from people in my riding of Saskatoon—Wanuskewin. They call upon Parliament to support the time honoured heterosexual opposite sex definition of marriage.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to do all that it can to support that and uphold it in the days ahead.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have before me the names of hundreds of Canadians who want alcohol warning labels.

They call upon the government to do what Parliament called on the government to do almost three years ago, and that is to affix warning labels on all alcohol beverage containers indicating that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause birth defects.

These Canadians know the dangers of drinking during pregnancy. They know the serious consequences of fetal alcohol syndrome. They want the government to live up to its commitment and act now.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Yukon
Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

March 9th, 2004 / 3:35 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan for the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved that Bill C-12, an act to amend the Criminal Code (protection of children and other vulnerable persons) and the Canada Evidence Act, be read the third time and passed.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

London West
Ontario

Liberal

Sue Barnes Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today for the third reading of Bill C-12, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the protection of children and other vulnerable persons, and the Canada Evidence Act.

Today is an important day for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, it is an important day for Canada's children. Support on this day for Bill C-12 will bring us one step closer to realizing an objective that I believe is shared by all hon. members, namely, better protection of our children against all forms of abuse, neglect and sexual exploitation.

Today is also an important day for another reason. Today is the day when I hope that all hon. members will unite to say to Canadians, with one voice that is both strong and clear, that our children are the priority. We can do something today to move this priority even better and give effect to just that voice. This is the day that we do move from talk to action. This is what Canadians demand and this is what Canada's children deserve.

Bill C-12 proposes reforms in five key areas: first, strengthening the provisions against child pornography; second, protecting youth against sexual exploitation; third, increasing the maximum penalties for specific offences committed against children; fourth, facilitating the testimony of child victims and witnesses and other vulnerable persons; and finally, modernizing the criminal law through the creation of the offence of voyeurism.

Regrettably, child pornography is an issue that is well-known to members and to all Canadians. Although Canada's criminal laws against child pornography are already among the toughest anywhere, Bill C-12 proposes to further strengthen these laws by directly responding to concerns flowing from the child pornography case involving John Robin Sharpe.

How does Bill C-12 respond to these concerns? Hon. members will recall that Mr. Sharpe was convicted of possession of child pornographic photographs. He was, however, acquitted on the charge of possession of written materials for the purpose of distribution or sale. Even though the court found that these written materials consisted primarily of descriptions of adult male-boy sexual acts of abuse and torture and described them as “morally repugnant”, Mr. Sharpe was acquitted of this charge because these stories did not meet the existing definition of written child pornography, that is, they did not advocate or counsel unlawful sexual activity with children.

Why then do we need to have this bill? I would like hon. members to consider this. Bill C-12 directly responds to the concerns of this case and proposes to broaden the existing definition of written child pornography. It proposes to prohibit written materials, such as those offered by Mr. Sharpe, that describe unlawful sexual activity with children where these written descriptions are the dominant characteristics of the material and they are written for a sexual purpose.

The government, in Bill C-12, clearly recognizes the very real risk of harm that these materials pose to our children and our society. We must not allow our children to be portrayed as a class of objects for sexual exploitation. I urge all hon. members to join with me in condemning such materials.

The alternative basis for Mr. Sharpe's acquittal on the written materials was that the materials would have been protected by the defence of artistic merit. The existing defence of artistic merit is easily satisfied by answering one, and one question alone: Does the work in question, objectively viewed, have some artistic merit? For example, does a written story show some accepted literary techniques or style? If it does, that is the end of the inquiry and the defence of artistic merit is available to the accused.

Canadians have clearly said no to this one step test. Again, the government has listened and Bill C-12 proposes a different test that draws from the wisdom of the Supreme Court of Canada. Bill C-12 proposes only one defence: the defence of public good, which involves a two step inquiry.

Does the material or act serve the public good? If not, there would be no defence. If it does, then an additional second question must be asked. Does it go beyond what serves the public good? In other words, if the risk of harm to society posed by such material or act outweighs the benefit that it offers to society, no defence would be available even if it had artistic, educational, scientific, medical or other value.

I appreciate that although the public good defence is one that is known to our courts, it may not be well understood by some, potentially including some in this chamber. Again, the government has heard and has responded further to these concerns.

The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights amended Bill C-12 to accept the government's clarification of the public good defence, including its legal interpretation. As amended, Bill C-12 now defines the public good as including acts or material that are necessary or advantageous to the administration of justice or the pursuit of science, medicine, education or art.

This new, inclusive definition closely models the language of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Sharpe case, thereby strengthening subsequent reliance upon this judgment to assist with the interpretation and application of the public good defence.

On October 28, 2003, the House unanimously passed a motion calling on the government to eliminate all child pornography defences for “possession of child pornography which allow[s] for the exploitation of children”. Bill C-12 delivers this and more.

During the course of that important debate, there was, I believe, a general acceptance that the law needs to protect certain persons who are working to catch child pornographers. For example, police and crown prosecutors who possess child pornography or provide it to other law enforcement officers for purposes related to the investigation and prosecution of child pornography cases should be provided with a defence for such possession and dissemination. Possession of child pornography by psychiatrists for educational or treatment related purposes was also recognized as something that should be protected.

This is exactly what Bill C-12 does. It recognizes that such acts clearly serve the public good and that the benefit they offer Canadian society clearly outweighs any risk of harm. Such acts do not exploit children.

The Canadian Professional Police Association, which is the national voice for 54,000 police serving across Canada, told the justice committee that they “welcome” the child pornography changes proposed by Bill C-12. They have also said that, from a practical perspective, the public good defence proposed by Bill C-12 will not impede police investigation of child pornography. This is because for most cases there is never any debate about the images. The graphic and explicit depictions of sexual abuse of young children by adults are clearly child pornography.

It is also important to note that while it is the job of the police to assess whether material constitutes child pornography as defined by the Criminal Code, it is not the police who determine whether an accused can avail himself or herself of a defence. That is a matter determined in a courtroom by those present on that day. Again, the public good defence does not impede police investigation of child pornography cases.

I urge all members to give effect to these important changes and to support these proposed child pornography reforms today, as have the police.

The government also recognizes that we must do more to better protect youth against sexual exploitation by those who would prey on their vulnerability in other ways.

Canada's criminal laws already prohibit all sexual activity with any young person below the age of consent, ranging from sexual touching, such as a kiss, to sexual intercourse. The age of consent is 18 where the relationship is exploitative, such as where it involves prostitution or child pornography or where there is a relationship of trust, authority or dependency.

Where none of these circumstances exist, the age of consent is 14, but--and it is important to be clear about this--any non-consensual sexual activity, regardless of age, is a sexual assault.

I understand that some persons believe that the best way to protect young persons against sexual exploitation is to raise the age of consent to 16 or 18 years. The government believes, however, that the real issue is about how to protect young persons from the exploitative conduct of others and is not about their consent to such conduct. There is a difference here.

One reason that is often given in support of raising the age of consent is that young persons, especially those who are 14 or 15 years old, are not mature enough to fully understand the consequences of consenting to engage in sexual activity. For some, young persons are too immature to be able to consent to any sexual activity, even with persons close in age. Others believe that young persons are too immature to consent to sexual activity with someone who is four, five or more years older.

Consider how the existing criminal law treats and recognizes the developing maturity and capacity of young persons. We have to go back. The age of criminal responsibility is 12 years. The age at which a young person may be subject to an adult sentence for committing a serious violent offence is 14 years. The age of consent to sexual activity is 14 years. The age of consent to sexual activity that is exploitative of the young person is 18 years.

While it is true that society uses other non-criminal measures to regulate other aspects of young persons' conduct, it would be completely inapt to compare, for example, the regulation of when a young person is allowed to drive to the criminalization of a young person's engagement in consensual, non-exploitative sexual activity. The government does not accept that normal, consensual teenaged sexual activity should be criminalized.

There is no consensus on this issue, whether among the public, at the level of federal, provincial or territorial ministers responsible for justice, or even among the witnesses who appeared before the justice committee on Bill C-12. Nonetheless, there is consensus on the need to better protect youth against sexual exploitation. Bill C-12 proposes this and more. It proposes better protection not only for 14 year olds and 15 year olds, but also for 16 year olds and 17 year olds, and it protects these young persons against sexual exploitation by others who are considerably older than they are, as well as against sexual exploitation by peers. It is the relationship, not just the age.

Some concerns were expressed by witnesses appearing before the justice committee that Bill C-12 as initially introduced did not adequately address a specific type of exploitative sexual relationship involving, for example, a 14 year old or 15 year old young person and a 40 year old or 50 year old adult.

The justice committee amended Bill C-12 to accept the government's amendment to more clearly describe the intention of Bill C-12 in this regard. It now states that the court may infer that a sexual relationship is exploitative, having regard to the nature and circumstances of that particular relationship. An additional fourth factor has also been added to the list of factors to be considered, namely, the age of the young person. This more clearly indicates that the court should consider this factor as well as the age differential between the young person and the older person.

Concerns have been expressed by some that existing sentencing provisions for offences against children do not adequately reflect the serious nature of committing any offence against a child.

Again, Bill C-12 responds to these concerns. It proposes to make the abuse of any child an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes. It also proposes to increase the maximum penalties for child specific sexual offences. The maximum penalty on summary conviction for sexual touching, invitation to sexual touching, and sexual exploitation would be tripled from 6 months to 18 months, reforms that have been welcomed by the Canadian Bar Association among others.

Bill C-12 would also double the maximum penalty for sexual exploitation of a young person from five to ten years when proceeded by indictment. The maximum penalties for failure to provide the necessaries of life and for abandonment of a child would also be increased to 18 months on a summary conviction and from two to five years on indictment for both offences.

Bill C-12 also proposes important reforms to facilitate the testimony of child victims or witnesses and other vulnerable witnesses. Although this part of the bill has received less attention than other parts, it largely has been well received. I know that in my own riding this is the part of the bill that is stressed to me the most, because we have those on the ground workers seeing the need for better protection for those who have been victims once and do not need to be re-victimized in a courtroom.

Most witnesses find the courtroom to be unfamiliar and unfriendly territory. For child witnesses it can be quite traumatizing. The criminal justice system has undergone numerous reforms since the late 1980s to make it more sensitive and responsive to the needs of these victims and witnesses.

These earlier reforms included making available such testimonial aids as a screen, a support person, closed circuit television, the exclusion of the public from the courtroom, publication bans, the use of videotaped evidence of the victim, and the appointment of counsel to conduct the cross-examination of a young victim or witness on behalf of a self-represented accused.

Bill C-12 proposes reforms that will clarify and apply a uniform test for the use of testimonial aids in three distinct categories of cases: first, cases involving a child victim or witness under the age of 18 years or a victim or witness with a disability; second, cases involving victims of criminal harassment; and third, cases involving other vulnerable adult victims and witnesses.

Bill C-12 would make testimonial aids available on application for all child witnesses and witnesses with a disability, unless they interfere with the proper administration of justice. For victims of criminal harassment and where the accused is self-represented, Bill C-12 would enable the Crown to apply for the appointment of counsel to conduct the cross-examination of the victim. The court would be required to order it unless doing so would interfere with the proper administration of justice.

This proposed amendment recognizes that a victim of criminal harassment or stalking, as it is sometimes called, should not have to endure further harassment by a self-represented accused person.

In cases involving any other adult victim or witness, the Crown can apply for the use of any testimonial aid or the appointment of counsel to conduct the cross-examination of the witness for the self-represented accused. In these cases, the court would order the use of the testimonial aid only if, having regard to the surrounding circumstances, including the nature of the offence and any relationship between the victim and the accused, the victim would not be able to provide a full and candid account without the testimonial aid.

Bill C-12 also proposes to modernize the publication ban provisions that can be imposed to protect the identity of the victim or witness or to ensure trial fairness. Bill C-12 would be amended to prohibit publication, broadcast or dissemination in any manner, including by the Internet.

In addition, Bill C-12 proposes amendments to the Canada Evidence Act that would eliminate the current requirement to conduct an inquiry into the ability of a child under the age of 14 years to understand the concept of an oath or affirmation and to provide testimony. In practice, the inconsistent and often rigorous conduct of these inquiries can result in increased trauma to the child witnesses as well as the loss of valuable testimony from child witnesses for reasons unrelated to the ability of a child to provide reliable testimony.

I have much more to say, but I understand that I am running out of time. I understand that it is easy to do politics around all legislation in the House, and I would just ask the hon. members to consider the real benefit of the aids that are in the bill and that we need now, not years down the road, in our courtrooms. The bill is so very important.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is good to speak to this subject today. We have done it numerous times in the past. I certainly want to add our comments and those of my constituents to the debate.

I have to disagree with some of the comments we have just heard from across the floor. I do not think this is a great day for the protection of children in Canada. Until we have legislation in place that sends a clear message that anybody who fools around with our children will face the full consequence of the law, we have failed to do our jobs here. I do not think the bill does that and I will point out a number of reasons why I think that.

The member across the way referred to a motion that was brought to the House by my colleague from Wild Rose. I want to mention him in my comments today because, as we all know, he has made the issue of preying on our children one of his top priorities as he goes through his political and personal life. I support his endeavours. The motion that he brought forward in the House back on October 28 read:

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.

The motion was supported at that time, but there are still defences in this law for the possession of child pornography. That is one of the flaws we find in it.

The Conservative Party of Canada has problems with four main areas of the bill. The first one is it does not eliminate all defences for the criminal possession of child pornography. The second one is it does not raise the age of consent for adult-child sexual contact from 14 up to 16, and even some would suggest, 18. It is the lowest in the western world and that is not something I believe Canadians are proud of. It fails to institute mandatory sentences for child sexual assault, as has been done in the U.K.

There is a lot of debate and discussion here on raising the maximum sentences. However, raising maximum sentences that are never given is not a deterrent to the people who prey on our children. We should be raising minimum sentences and making sure that anybody who is convicted of exploiting our children is dealt with in a very severe manner.

The other one is the one dealing with evidence. I am working on a private member's bill that would change the way evidence could be presented in these cases. I have been doing some research on that. It is a very complex issue. It is not only in the Criminal Code but it also expands into other areas.

That is something that needs to be looked at. The people who fight child pornography in this country are bogged down by the amount of material they have to catalogue and bring to court. Certainly the accused has a right to know what the prosecution has in its possession and what it will be bringing forward. We have to be reasonable in the kind of cataloguing and evidence that has to be brought in these cases. That is something we really need to look at.

One of the real issues is that one of the most notorious pedophiles in Canada likes this bill. That should send a darn clear message that the government is on the wrong track in bringing the bill forward. He thinks that some of the provisions in the bill on giving evidence would be good for pedophiles. They would be able to bring forward young people to testify and they would enjoy that type of thing when it came to the court.

When somebody who enjoys this type of material sees merit in the bill because it will add to whatever they do to get enjoyment out of this type of material, and when he publicly states on his website that he thinks this is a good bill, then we really need to have a hard look at what we are doing. We need to make sure that we eliminate anything that pedophiles think will be to their advantage when they get to court on some of these issues.

There is controversy regarding the artistic merit defence. Changing it to the public good defence would leave a giant loophole in the law. I believe that some of the pedophiles in this country will see that as an advantageous tool that they will be able to use in their defence.

We have to eliminate any defence for people convicted of possession of child pornography. What possible public good could there be in images of children being abused? I cannot see what the government had in mind when it included a public good clause in the legislation. Images depicting children being abused in any way should not be allowed as art or for any other reason, such as research. Every time somebody looks at one of those images, the child goes through the whole process of abuse one more time.

That is a loophole in Bill C-12 and it needs to be taken out of the legislation. It should be changed before the bill is put into law. There is no reason to go forward with this and then come back years later and change it then. We feel very strongly about that. We need to make sure that aspect of the legislation is changed before it is put into law.

A poll was done a year or so ago and 80% of Canadians supported raising the age of consent for sexual activity. With 80% of Canadians onside, one would think the government would have paid heed to that but it did not.

A person as young as 14 years can be sexually exploited by an adult legally. There is a lot of talk about the issue of whether the sex is consensual, but we are talking about child-adult sex. If the age of consent could be raised to at least 16, that would protect thousands more children from people who choose to prey on them. That is an issue that needs to be dealt with. When that many Canadians are in support of it, any government should pay attention.

People have said that we cannot stop sex between teenagers, but that is not the issue; that is not what we are talking about. We are talking about child-adult sex. That is what we need to focus on. When these conditions, or what I call loopholes, that for some reason this should be allowed, are put into law, it is the same issue as artistic merit or public good being left in the bill. There is no reason to do it.

We are talking about children. We are talking about the most vulnerable people in our society. If we as legislators cannot come up with laws that will protect them to the ultimate degree because they cannot protect themselves, then we have not done our jobs. We need to have the strongest possible legislation in place.

Why would we as a nation be lagging behind the rest of the western world when it comes to these issues? It just does not make any sense. It makes us want to step back and wonder exactly what the minister was thinking when he developed the bill and why the government is pushing it through in its present state. Why can we as Canadians not be leaders instead of followers? Why can we not have the strongest legislation in place to protect children?

Canada has become known as a haven for pedophiles. The availability of the Internet to those types of people, the way they can dispense information rapidly and in such high volume requires us to have systems in place to stop it. Every time a market is created or there is a need for something like this, then another child has been abused. We have to stop the end use of it so it filters back and stops the creation of it.

The member who spoke previously made a lot of comments and put a lot of credence in the fact that maximum sentences were being increased. That does not do the job. Minimum sentences have to be increased so that the message is clear and unavoidable. People who prey on our children or hurt a child in Canada will pay the ultimate price. They will pay it upfront and a deterrent will be put in place to stop them from doing it again. If it is a maximum sentence that is never imposed by the courts, then what is the point of doing it?

There is the issue of support for our police departments. Many of us have met with police forces across the country. Some of the stories they tell us are horrific and they are things that stay in your mind. We cannot possibly understand how someone could do to children some of the things that are done.

We have to give the police the resources they need to protect children in Canada. To say that this is a great day for children, I completely disagree with that for many reasons. The fact that our police forces are so overworked and under-resourced in this area is one of them.

Every time another task force is created, there is a lot of hoopla in the media about it, but there are no more police officers given. It is just another task force that has to be shared by the present forces. We must increase the numbers of policemen on the ground and increase their ability to pursue these people and stop them from trading in this vile information.

There were some policemen on Parliament Hill a year or two ago. I witnessed what they had to say. While they were speaking to us, they hooked up a computer and went online. I am not sure how chat rooms work, but before the meeting was over, they had put up something that indicated there was an underage person being manipulated by an adult and those who wanted to take part could tune in. Before the meeting was over, the police had two or three hits from people from who knows where that were interested. That is how fast and how effective the Internet is for those people who promote that type of thing. It was quite a lesson to many of us as to how easily these things can happen.

The Toronto police force indicated that it had 2,300 names of suspected pedophiles in Canada and only 5% of them had been addressed. This in itself is a damning statistic, that we have actual names of people and we do not have the resources to go out and hold them to task or enough manpower to investigate what is going on and put a stop to it. The cases are many. The issues are huge.

I want to get back to the John Robin Sharpe case. I firmly believe that when people such as Mr. Sharpe come forward and indicate that they support the bill and they feel that there are aspects in it that they would find appealing and would convince society to become more tolerant of pedophiles, then we are really on the wrong track. We must make sure that any bill that is put forward does not fall into the hands of pedophiles, allowing them to ply their trade and prey on our children.

There a couple of other points I would like to make along these lines. There is the aspect of Canadians that have been involved. Thousands of Canadians have petitioned Parliament to take away all the defences for child pornography and to increase the resources that are available to the police to fight this issue. We have to listen to these people. They are going to a lot of effort. They are very involved and very knowledgeable on what is going on. They know the numbers of children that have been preyed upon. They have a huge concern.

When we see that many Canadians engaged in an issue, then the government should pay attention. The government should look at what they are suggesting and try to implement it into law. We have not seen that here. The loopholes that have been left are many and they need to be addressed.

Before I close I would like to move an amendment. I move:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following therefore:

Bill C-12, an act to amend the Criminal Code (protection of children and other vulnerable persons) and the Canada Evidence Act, be not now read a third time but referred back to the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness for the purpose of reconsidering all of its clauses with the view to eliminate loopholes identified by 'the nation's most notorious child pornographer', Robin Sharpe.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

4:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

The amendment is in order.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Charlesbourg--Jacques-Cartier.