House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tlicho.

Topics

Criminal Code
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, if this is the appropriate time, I move:

That the amendment be amended by adding: “and that the committee report back to the House no later than June 1, 2004”.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The Chair wants to make sure that it is doing things in the proper order and I thank the House for its understanding and cooperation.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

Elgin—Middlesex—London
Ontario

Liberal

Gar Knutson Minister of State (New and Emerging Markets)

Mr. Speaker, and all members of the House, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-12, an act to amend the Criminal Code (protection of children and other vulnerable persons) and the Canada Evidence Act.

This is not among my normal course of work being a Minister of State for International Trade. I know I share the concern with all members of the House about the protection of children and vulnerable people.

Bill C-12 proposes a broad package of criminal law reforms that seek to strengthen the criminal justice system's protection and response to children and other vulnerable persons.

Although I will focus my comments on child pornography, I would also like to note that Bill C-12 contains other important reforms. It proposes to strengthen protection for young persons against sexual exploitation. It would increase the penalties for offences against children. It would facilitate testimony by child and other vulnerable victims and witnesses. It would create a new offence of voyeurism.

As I said, I would like to focus my comments on the amendments relating to child pornography.

The sexual exploitation of children, society's most vulnerable group in any form, including through child pornography, is to be condemned. I know there is no debate among civilized people on this point.

Bill C-12 recognizes this and proposes amendments to our existing child pornography provisions that I believe will serve to better protect children against this form of sexual exploitation. Canada's child pornography laws are already among the toughest in the world and as my colleague before me said, Bill C-12 would make them tougher still.

First, Bill C-12 proposes to broaden the existing definition of written child pornography to include written material that describes prohibited sexual activity with children where the description is the predominant characteristic of the material and it is done for a sexual purpose.

The proposed amendment reflects Canadians' belief that these types of written materials pose a real risk of harm to our children and society by portraying children as a class of objects for sexual exploitation. Bill C-12 clearly states that such materials are not acceptable.

Second, Bill C-12 proposes to narrow the existing defences into one defence, of public good, a term that is now specifically defined in the bill. Under the new law, no defence will be available where the material or act in question does not serve the public good or where it exceeds or goes beyond what serves the public good.

The public good defence recognizes that in some instances, such as with the possession of child pornography by police as part of an investigation, such possession serves the public good and should be protected. It also recognizes that art or material that has artistic value can serve the public good. However and unlike the current artistic merit defence, the proposed public good defence in Bill C-12 will not be available for such art where the risk of harm it imposes to society outweighs any potential benefits that it offers.

Canadians have been demanding that we respond in a direct and meaningful way to the issues that flowed from the March 2002 case involving Robin Sharpe, and this is exactly what Bill C-12 does. The adoption of Bill C-12's amendments will reaffirm Canada's leadership role in protecting children from sexual exploitation through child pornography.

I note from the clock that I am running out of time, so I just ask in closing that all hon. members support these amendments.

The House resumed from April 20 consideration of the motion that Bill C-30, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 23, 2004, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the motion that this question be now put.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

April 21st, 2004 / 5:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

It being 5:30 p.m. the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the previous question at the second reading stage of Bill C-30.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

6 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

The next question is on the main motion.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you were to seek it, I think you would find unanimous consent of the House that the members who voted on the previous motion be recorded as voting on the motion now before the House, with the Liberals voting in favour.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

6 p.m.

The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent of the House to proceed in this fashion?

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dale Johnston Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, Conservative members present today will be voting no, and I would like the name of the member for Calgary Southwest to be added to our rolls.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, the members of the Bloc Quebecois vote against this motion.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

6 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the members of the New Democratic Party vote no on this motion.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

6 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, both Progressive Conservatives will be voting yes on this motion.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Budget Implementation Act, 2004
Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.

(Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

The House resumed from April 20 consideration of Bill C-11, An Act to give effect to the Westbank First Nation Self-Government Agreement, as reported with amendment from the committee, and of Motions Nos. 1 and 3.