An Act to amend the Criminal code (forfeiture of property relating to child pornography crimes)

This bill was last introduced in the 37th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2002.

Sponsor

Rick Casson  Canadian Alliance

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Not active, as of Feb. 7, 2001
(This bill did not become law.)

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

March 13th, 2001 / 6:35 p.m.
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Mississauga South Ontario

Liberal

Paul Szabo LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Madam Speaker, I would like to lend my support to Bill C-247, tabled in the House by the hon. member for Lethbridge.

This House was seized with the issue of child pornography, probably polarized mostly by the Sharpe case, the B.C. case where the constitutionality of our laws on the possession of child pornography were challenged in the B.C. court. In fact the court case was lost. As members will recall this was quite outrageous to Canadians at large and certainly to everyone in the House.

However, we have a process and that process led that case, not only through the B.C. Court of Appeal but also right to the Supreme Court of Canada. I think we are all very grateful that the decision of the supreme court upheld the law. However, in a way that raised some interesting questions for the House.

The fact that the member has brought forward a bill that addresses another element of the child pornography issue, probably should remind us that we should continue to work on developing good legislation, step by step, to be sure that we deal with many of the items which hon. members have raised in the debate.

This particular bill seeks to provide the court with the discretion to forfeit anything by means of which, or in relation to which, a child pornography offence was committed. It basically says that the tools of the person who was in possession of or creating child pornography would be forfeited to the crown. There were some questions raised by the parliamentary secretary with regard to this matter, but the questions are resolvable. Fundamentally, the proposal is sound.

As we know this is a non-votable matter. That is unfortunate because when items like this come before the House, especially when they are so important, not only to the members proposing it but to Canadians in this case, there should be a greater debate. Using it as a starting point, we can make it deal with the principle that has been raised by the bill. We can work on the technicalities to make sure that the protection of third parties is dealt with. We can make sure that, for instance, employers are protected in the event that an employee would use employer assets for the perpetration or production of child pornography.

I wanted to lend my voice as support. Members know that today we unanimously passed a resolution before the House to consider the creation of a national registry for sex offenders. It is characteristic that the motion was unanimously endorsed by the House. We all want to be constructive and productive on legislation that will create a safer and healthier environment for our children and our families.

I congratulate the member for bringing this bill forward. I am sorry that it is not votable but I think it is encouraging that the Ministry of Justice has indicated that the principle is a good one and that it will be dealt with by the government. The member should take full credit for it when it happens. I hope that he will.

Private members' business is a maligned part of the business that we do in this place. I cannot say that I am very happy with the way it works. I have seen many good bills come before this place that were not votable and I have seen some questionable bills come before this place that were votable. I am not sure whether the system right now is serving the best interests of the House.

I also lament the fact that so few private members' items ever get through the full cycle of second reading, committee consideration, third reading and report stage, as well as Senate review. It is unfortunate because many good ideas do come forward to this place.

I hope members will remember this particular bill the next time we come around to a debate on the propriety of how we handle private members' business. Perhaps they will use it as an example of just another good idea of members of parliament that somehow have to be set aside for the wrong reasons.

I appreciate the member's thoughtfulness in bringing this bill forward to the House. I think it is important to have every opportunity to talk about issues that are important to Canadians. This is a non-partisan issue. We should be grateful to the member for raising it in the House today.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

March 13th, 2001 / 6:20 p.m.
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Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

I will say it again. They are sick and perverted. They truly are. It is only logical therefore that anyone who seeks to participate in this obscene trade should have the tools of the trade seized by authorities and destroyed.

The laws of Canada and the charter of rights and freedoms must not be used as a shield for those who would seek to corrupt and exploit our very young. Any just society must balance the rights it extends to its citizens with the responsibility it expects its citizens to undertake.

Persons violating the spirit of the law should not be afforded any protection by the mere letter of the law. Canadians are compassionate and understanding. We are a patient and respectful people who have on many occasions sent our sons and daughters into harm's way to protect our way of living. Yet when the system, whatever its best intentions, becomes a tool for evil it should not be left unchanged.

Earlier today we debated a national sex offender registry. I said then that we had a duty and an obligation as representatives of the people to take the action required to protect our people. Tonight we are fortunate to have another opportunity to send to the government a clear signal on what action is required for the sake of our children.

I hope that our plea falls on the same compassionate ears that heard our call this afternoon for the national sex offender registry. I hope that the same courageous members on the government benches that saw fit to support that registry will stand with us again on Bill C-247.

There comes a time in public life when we are forced to decide on a personal course of action. We sit down with a piece of legislation to try to determine what the people who elected us would want us to do. We have before us an excellent piece of legislation and one that I know my people back home in Saint John, New Brunswick, would cheer with a loud chorus of support.

The House would suspect that I find pornography in any form to be distasteful and degrading. If it were possible for me to detest one form of pornography over all others, it would be child pornography. The House knows that I am a mother and a grandmother. To think that someone could do this with my grandson or my granddaughter, I will fight that tooth and nail.

The House knows that I have tried to use my time in public service to work with children and families in need, not only in Saint John but across the country. It is for these reasons and many more that even the thought of someone profiting from the illicit trade of child pornography makes me feel very ill.

I also know that the Minister of Justice has wrestled with the same issues for some time. I know that various members on the government back benches have been forced to hold back tears in the past because they have not seen their government take the decisive action against the disgusting child pornography problem. We saw it with that man out in Vancouver.

I consider Bill C-247 to be a solid first strike against the child pornography trade. It would give pause to those who deal in this perverted trafficking. The hon. member for Lethbridge has ensured that we remain as respectful as possible to property rights of law-abiding Canadians. Bill C-247 is clear in its limitations and clear to avoid the unlawful seizure or forfeiture of the property of those who are not a party to child pornography offences. It is a necessary limitation and one that strengthens the legislation and the laws it seeks to change.

The House may not recall that my cousin is Gordon Fairweather. He stood side by side with John Diefenbaker when they first crafted the bill of rights. I know that when they set out to protect the rights of Canadians they did not do so with the intent of protecting criminals or the tools of their trade.

When the charter of rights and freedoms was being crafted it was not created to shield those who would seek to abuse and exploit children. Knowing this, I say without hesitation that Bill C-247 is in keeping with the best intentions of both the bill of rights and the charter of rights and freedoms. If my cousin Gordon Fairweather were back here, he would be with the hon. member for Lethbridge all the way.

This is a step worth taking to strengthen the security of our children from the clutches of truly depraved individuals. Even if one child is spared from exploitation and abuse by the child pornography trade, and it is a trade by its very nature, it will have been all worth while. That said, could we deny our families that added security for mere partisan political reasons?

If we do not support Bill C-247 are we not saying that we accept in some form or another that child pornography is tolerable? Is that the message we want to send out to the mothers and fathers of Canadian children? Is that the message we want to send out to my grandson Matthew and granddaughter Lindsay?

We have a duty and obligation to all Canadians to deliver them from evil and to protect them from injustice. We have a duty and obligation to every generation of children to make them safer from the generation before them. This is the mantle of responsibility we all assumed when we put our names on the ballot last fall. It is a duty from which we must not shy away. I fully support Bill C-247 and so do my colleagues in the PC Party.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

March 13th, 2001 / 6:05 p.m.
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Erie—Lincoln Ontario

Liberal

John Maloney LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the second reading debate of Bill C-247, an act to amend the criminal code, forfeiture of property relating to child pornography crimes. I share the hon. member's concern about child pornography and I congratulate him for introducing the bill.

I can assure the hon. member that the concern about protecting children from predators is also of primary concern to the government. The Speech from the Throne was clear on that point. In the Speech from the Throne our government stated its full intention to “act to safeguard children from crimes, including criminals on the Internet” and to “take steps to ensure that our laws protect children from those who prey on their vulnerability”.

We all recognize that our children are the most vulnerable members of our society and we must do all we can to protect them from harm. No one will deny that child pornography seriously harms children. It does so in at least two ways. It creates a permanent record of the sexual abuse of children and it perpetuates the message that children are appropriate sexual objects. Indeed, they are not.

Child pornography was specifically prohibited by an amendment to the criminal code enacted in 1993. This amendment, which is now 163.1 of the criminal code, creates new offences for the production, importation, distribution, sale, possession for purposes of sale or distribution and simple possession of child pornography. All these offences carry a greater penalty than the offences prohibiting obscene materials involving adults.

These criminal code provisions against child pornography were enacted to respond to the prevailing practices at the time. These practices were still primarily paper oriented and involved mechanical production and physical distribution practices.

Although the current offences have been successfully applied to electronic practices relating to child pornography, no one in 1993 anticipated the technological advances that were experienced in the last five years. No one anticipated how quickly new technologies would be embraced by such a large portion of the population, particularly young people. In particular, it was not anticipated at the time that computer systems, including the Internet, would become the instruments of choice for trading child pornography.

The Internet has made it easier to communicate valuable information and carry on discussions on all kinds of subjects with people who share similar interests. Unfortunately, it has made it easier to disseminate and collect images of child pornography.

Perhaps the time has come to take a close look at the child pornography provisions in order to determine whether they still apply to current practices.

The purpose of Bill C-247, like the purpose of Bill C-321 introduced by the hon. member for Lethbridge in the previous parliament, is to create an additional deterrent to the commission of a child pornography offence. The bill would add a component to the sentence currently available under the criminal code and deprive the person convicted of the offence of all tools and instruments that were used to commit the offence. The bill would provide for the forfeiture of these instruments to the crown.

I note the hon. member has added to the bill an element that was lacking in Bill C-321. It now specifies that an order cannot be made in respect to a thing that is not the property of a person who is not a party to the offence. It also specifically excludes the forfeiture of communications facilities and equipment.

I recognize that these changes make the bill more sound. However I have some questions on the working of the provisions as drafted.

For instance, while the bill provides that the judge should not order forfeiture when the person guilty of the offence is not the owner of the thing, it does not provide for the manner in which the owner would have his or her right to the property recognized.

I commend the hon. member for introducing the bill. It is a step in the right direction in our fight against child pornography. I support the principle of the bill. However more must be done if we want to adequately protect our children against sexual exploitation.

The Minister of Justice has a bill currently on notice. The hon. member might be pleasantly surprised when he sees it after introduction.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

March 13th, 2001 / 5:50 p.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Canadian Alliance Lethbridge, AB

moved that Bill C-247, an act to amend the Criminal Code (forfeiture of property relating to child pornography crimes), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Madam Speaker, it is a privilege to be here today to once again present my bill, Bill C-247. For those who do not have a copy in front of them, Bill C-247 is an amendment to section 163.1 of the criminal code which would allow a court that convicts a person of an offence under those provisions to order the forfeiture of anything by means of which or in relation to which the offence was committed.

Before I start, I would like to recognize a number of people who have helped me with this process. One of the main drives behind this bill and this initiative is Detective Inspector Bob Matthews. He is the head of Canada's lead agency in the fight against child pornography. That is the 16 member Ontario Provincial Police child pornography unit, project P.

Detective Inspector Matthews is a widely respected voice in the debate between free speech advocates and law enforcement, and is one of Canada's top law enforcement agents in the field of child pornography investigations.

The second person I wish to thank is Detective Noreen Waters of the Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia. Detective Waters has been a child pornography investigator for eight years and was part of the team that brought in the now infamous John Robin Sharpe. She has been an enthusiastic supporter of our bill.

I also wish to thank Sergeant Randy Brennan of the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Police high tech unit. Sergeant Brennan has been involved in many successful child pornography investigations and is a valuable source of information.

I also want to recognize Mr. Steve Sullivan, the hardworking president and CEO of the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime. Steve has been a tireless advocate of victim's rights and has worked with members of parliament to change the justice system to place the rights of victims before criminals.

The list goes on. These individuals and many other law enforcement officers, victim's advocates, federal parliamentarians, provincial justice ministers and everyday normal Canadians from across this country have contacted me and offered their support. I want to thank these concerned Canadians and tell them to keep up the good work. I also want to thank them for fighting to protect children because today more than ever they need our help.

I want to broaden the theme of my speech today to discuss the challenges of controlling child pornography in today's Internet age. In my speech I hope to expose the depth of the problem facing policy makers and law enforcement. I also wish to share with members and viewers some of the ideas that I have to tackle these challenges.

At the root of these challenges lies the hydra like nature of the Internet. In its humble fledgling as a forum for academia and the military, the Internet was boring and difficult to navigate. It contained only dry text, no images or flashy graphics. However the creation of the graphical interface known as the worldwide web in 1993 has created a surge in popularity.

From just over 100 sites in 1993, the web has exploded to the point where some industry experts estimate that over 800 million web pages exist today with some 160,000 pages being added each and every month.

The Internet has revolutionized communications. Most of us in the House did not even know what e-mail was up until five years ago, yet today our children and our grandchildren are growing up having never known anything else but instantaneous communication. Businesses, organizations, government agencies and individuals have seized upon this technology by setting up websites and revolutionizing the interaction between people.

As in all facets of life there are decent, virtuous online users and there are deviant predators making use of this potent tool. In his report “Innocence Exploited: Child Pornography in the Electronic Age” prepared for the Canadian Police College, Winnipeg Professor Doug Skoog estimates that there are at least one million pornographic images of children on the Internet.

Detective Waters shared recent statistics with me that estimate that 53% of Internet traffic is concerned with sexually explicit material.

Calgary police detective Butch Dickens of the vice unit had this to say about child pornography on the Internet in a newspaper article last year. He states:

A year ago, we probably only got one phone call a month about it. Now we get four a day.

Before the advent of the worldwide web, child pornography detectives around the world could say with confidence that they were winning the war against child pornography. The old methods of creation and distribution were extremely perilous. Carefully arranged meetings, secret mailing lists and postal drops placed pedophiles at tremendous risk of being caught and punished. Those days are gone.

Inspector Bob Matthews relates:

The Internet has become almost the perfect vehicle for pedophiles to distribute child pornography, the reason being that at the stroke of a key, anyone can send large volumes of information from one country to another without being detected by the authorities.

The anonymity offered by the Internet allows child molesters to stalk their victims in their homes, schools and libraries without ever being physically present in any of those places.

The following are a few of the techniques they use to exploit children: Chatting online, Internet chat rooms, where users can send type to each other in real time, provide plentiful hunting grounds where child pornographers can stalk their young victims.

The next one is the sex tourism trade. With the increase in use of the Internet for the sex trade and sexual abuse against children, the number of websites providing information to travelling pedophiles has increased dramatically and is extremely explicit in detail.

Another technique is image morphing. With a decent computer and a little skill child pornographers can turn almost any picture into a pornographic image.

One of the worst of all is real time molestation, or streaming video, which shows live video on the Internet and enables child molesters to display their victims in real time to selected members of child pornography rings and clubs.

Skilled child pornographers will encrypt their messages, rendering them unreadable to outsiders.

These are some of the ways that they have been intruding into our homes and the lives of our children using the Internet.

Parents who were once confident that living in a small town would insulate them from the troubles associated with big cities can no longer be unmindful about the security of their children. With the click of a mouse, children in remote areas can be exposed to the seamy underside of the net. In what is becoming an all too often occurrence, cases are occurring where children under the age of 18 are being threatened or even molested by someone they met online.

In July of last year, a 45 year old man from the P.E.I. town of Summerside plead guilty to a child pornography charge. He had secretly videotaped a 14 year old girl whom he had coerced into doing a striptease and then played it live on the Internet for viewers in a special interactive online chat room. That same month, on the other side of our country, police arrested a 28 year old Washington man in the ferry line up, ready to leave Vancouver Island. Police found a 14 year old B.C. girl in his van. They had been exchanging e-mails.

In March of last year, the Ottawa Sun reported that an 18 year old man was arrested and charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. An undercover police officer met the man online while the accused was looking for a partner in a plot to kidnap, rape and kill a young child.

While for pedophiles, child molesters and pornographers the Internet is like a dream come true, it has become a nightmare for decent Canadians. The downward spiral into child exploitation usually commences with the collection of child pornography, progressing to sexually explicit online conversations with youngsters and eventually seeking child victims online for sex.

Tragically, authorities can only act when the pedophile acts on his urges. Experts report that before they are arrested, the average child molesting pedophile abuses 35 children. They will share methods and techniques in finding children, gaining their trust and facilitating seduction. Along the way many, compulsively save mementoes to validate their actions. This is how child pornography is created.

However, understanding the problem, as difficult as it may be, is only half the job. Problems require solutions. Some of those concerned about this problem advocate complete censorship and regulation of anything that appears online. Others lecture that any restriction on speech is unacceptable and prefer to place the responsibility on the users. The answer lies somewhere in the middle of these two polar viewpoints. As policy makers, it is our task to strike that balance, for we alone have the democratic mandate of the Canadian people.

Shortly after her swearing in as chief justice of the supreme court, Madame Justice Beverley McLachlin predicted the court would deal extensively with issues of computer crime. The court, she said, would have to find ways to cope with offences that were international in scope, given the breadth of the Internet and computer communications.

Strong, effective legislation is one way the impact of child pornographers can be reduced. The supreme court did the right thing in upholding the ban on this illicit material in the Sharpe case, but now we must provide another tool to the justice system to stem the tide of child pornography flooding the web.

In 1993, in the wake of the R. v Butler decision, parliament passed Bill C-128, criminalizing all aspects of child pornography, including the creation, distribution, importation and possession of such material. It is considered among the strongest anti-child pornography legislation in the world. That is something of which all Canadians can be proud.

Unfortunately, a provision ordering forfeiture of equipment was omitted. This omission can be best described as an oversight when one considers forfeiture orders exist in 55 different federal statutes and in various places in the criminal code. This clearly demonstrates the justice system is not opposed to such penalties for criminals. To correct this omission in the law, I introduced C-247, which would have given courts the authority to order forfeiture, providing police with an extra weapon in their fight against child pornography.

Currently, forfeiture of equipment, in the context of a child pornography offence, is handled differently across the country. In Ontario the equipment is often forfeited as part of a bartering between the defence and the prosecution. In British Columbia prosecutors rarely ask for equipment to be turned over.

To see the danger in this patchwork practice a little insight is required into how charges under Section 163.1 of the criminal code are dealt with.

One must struggle to conceive of a crime more horrible than the sexual victimization of children.

Because of the strong public condemnation of child pornography, many offenders will do anything to keep their names out of the public domain, often eagerly agreeing to plea bargains, resulting in reduced sentences and often with no jail time. This creates a situation where the case law on this section is scant because the courts have had few opportunities to comment on it.

More dangerous is the fact that these plea bargains often allow the offender to return to the same environment in which he initially committed his crime. Returning him to that environment with high tech equipment intact is a temptation that could prove too strong to resist.

By ordering forfeiture, I believe the risk of recurrence can be lowered. Because a child pornography addiction is fueled by psychological problems, not by profit, many offenders will have limited means. Indeed, their compulsion likely creates financial hardship as the individual spends much of his free time and money in pursuit of his fantasy.

Confiscating several thousand dollars worth of computer equipment and perhaps even a vehicle or something more substantial will create a financial barrier to reoffending. I understand it is only money and does not address the root of the problem, but it is one way we can slow down the traffic in this repulsive time.

The technology of our rapidly changing world continues to create legislative challenges for parliament. Expanding the legislation, filling in the holes, adapting to change, as we are trying to do, is necessary. Criminals do not stand still and neither should we.

It is out of my concern for the safety of Canadian children that I took this initiative, researched the issue of child pornography and the Internet and tabled the bill. I acknowledge that my bill may not have been written in the most precise of legal terminology, but I am nevertheless disappointed that it was not deemed votable this year, as it was last.

I took on the challenge of tabling a private member's bill, a justice themed bill no less, knowing the odds were stacked against my success, but I did it because I believe in the spirit of the bill and I could not stand by without doing something to help.

I urge all members to take some time to think of the difference, even if it is a small difference, that the bill could make in the fight against child pornography so that one like it may return to the order paper in the near future. I implore the justice minister to take the spirit of the bill and enshrine it in law. Consider the law enforcement agents who have made it their life's work to make our country safe from the perversions of these child molesters. Think of the victims of these cold-blooded criminals and help us make a difference.

SupplyGovernment Orders

March 13th, 2001 / 11:40 a.m.
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Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate on this very worth while and very common sense motion that has been brought forward. I am equally pleased that the matter will be voted upon, whereby all members of the House will have an opportunity to express their support or lack of support for the motion.

I would deem this motion to be a very common sense, mother's milk type of motion that is very much aimed at protecting our most vulnerable members of society, our children. This motion would put in place a registry that would provide information which would allow the police to have better access to information about the whereabouts of offenders and about convictions of a sexual nature that have been registered in the courts. This would provide them with the enhanced ability to protect society and to carry out their appointed task. It would simply give them more tools with which to do their job and protect society and, more specifically, protect children.

The motion calls upon the government to establish a registry by January 1, 2002. The member for Langley—Abbotsford is to be commended for bringing this motion forward with the honest intent of ensuring that the registry system is in place by that date.

The government has indicated, in its attempt to co-opt this motion—and there has been some discussion about methods in which it often does this by amending—that it will be supporting the motion. One can only hope that there is a similar and genuine intent behind it to fulfil this commitment, but again, the House will have to excuse my skepticism. We have seen instances as recently as a few weeks ago in this parliament, when Liberal members voted against a motion that essentially came from their own red book. We know that in the Liberal red book there is in fact a reference, albeit an oblique one, to a similar commitment to put a sex offender registry in place.

Government members have indicated today that they may support the motion. Time will tell. Similarly, I hope Canadians, and in particular victims' groups and police officers, will watch what happens after today to see if there is a real commitment. I mean more than just the words, more than the mouthing of the words and the reannouncement of other motions and other commitments that have been made.

I should indicate at this point, Mr. Speaker, that I will be splitting my time with the indomitable, unsinkable member for Saint John. I can assure the House that she will be speaking in favour of this motion, as am I. We have unanimous support in the Progressive Conservative Party for this important motion.

There has been reference to the fact that models in other countries are working. I am talking about the United Kingdom and the United States. Most recently, we have seen efforts made in the province of Ontario to support a similar type of registry. Other provinces are also looking at bringing this motion forward. Members will know that the province of Ontario has put forth concrete examples of how it intends to approach this problem, and it is a problem.

It has been acknowledged by the president of the Canadian Police Association, Grant Obst, that the current system is not working. There is not a current system in place that necessitates the reporting upon release of those who have been convicted of sexual offences to police so that it can track their whereabouts and ensure that individuals who have this past will be identified and will not, often for insidious reasons, find themselves involved in groups where they would be in a position of trust, able to prey upon children and able to perpetrate horrific crimes which have lifelong implications that are so damaging and damning that the children's lives are ruined for all intents and purposes. Often, and I believe it has been alluded to in this debate as well, the same victims go on to perpetrate this type of heinous crime.

It cannot be any more fundamental than that. We should be tasked in this place to do everything we can, everything within our reasonable ability to ensure we are protecting children. This is a very straightforward, common sense way to go about it.

Much of the Ontario example to which other members and I have alluded was as a result of an horrific tragedy in the province of Ontario where Christopher Stephenson was murdered in 1988 by Joseph Fredericks, a convicted pedophile who was out on parole at the time. There was an inquest and a lengthy examination of the factual circumstances of the case and circumstances surrounding similar crimes. The inquest resulted in the suggestion that there should be a creation of a national sex offender registry.

The motion as presented does not bind the House to proceed in any certain direction. I would suggest that it could be used to complement the current CPIC system or it could be a stand alone system.

There is certainly ample evidence of a contradiction, to which the member for Winnipeg—Transcona alluded, that the government would somehow justify not pursuing this as a stand alone system. It used the same argument, because offenders would not voluntarily register, when the same system used for registering firearms was plagued with the issue of non-compliance and individuals who are not voluntarily complying on pain of criminal conviction, one might add.

The government is not prepared to put in place a system that would mandate that sex offenders participate in registry, but it is willing to put in place at huge expense to the Canadian public purse, $500 million plus, that if people do not register their long guns, being law-abiding citizens their entire lives, they are subject to criminal prosecution. It is absolutely perverse, but it is atypical of the attitude of the Liberal government and the endless pursuit of bureaucracy in putting in place systems that will not work.

Here we have a system being presented, a common sense approach to protect children, and it will apparently be sloughed aside or given lip service in a vote later today by the Liberals. It will not be followed up. While other governments like the government of the province of Ontario are pushing for the federal government to create a national registry, this is being rejected.

Soon after the Liberals rejected Bill C-247, a private member's bill introduced by their own member for Mississauga East, we saw an attempt by one government member to bring forward a process that would allow for consecutive sentencing for repeat or multiple murderers, sex offenders, or those convicted of violent crimes. There was a rejection, an outright campaign on the government side to ensure that type of legislation did not come into effect.

The Ontario government in its wisdom passed that legislation 90 to 0, it is worth noting, in its provincial legislature on April 4, 2000. Christopher's law is the first of its kind in the country. It requires those convicted of serious sexual offences, those who are dangerous, high risk sex offenders, to register their names and addresses with the police in the jurisdictions where they will be residing.

The information in the registry could be available to local police forces. They would have the ability to release the information, when required and when justified, to public groups such as the Guides, the Scouts, Big Brothers and hockey organizations or athletic organizations.

That is the purpose for which this type of information could be used. There is also the deterrent aspect. Knowing that the registry is in place and that the information is available to police and to certain groups acts as a deterrent. It is the equivalent of the sword of Damocles hanging over an offender's head if he or she chose to be indiscreet.

There are practical implications for such a registry. The Canadian Police Association, 30,000 strong, strongly endorsed a registry. The victims groups, and I would suggest hundreds of thousands of Canadians, see the wisdom in having this type of system. Privacy rights could be protected. The system could be crafted in such a way that it would not infringe the charter of rights.

I wholeheartedly endorse and agree that we should always err on the side of caution when it comes to protecting children from the damage that can flow from the crimes perpetrated against them. The Progressive Conservative Party will be supporting the motion wholeheartedly. My colleague from Saint John will be adding her remarks to this debate.

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

February 7th, 2001 / 3:15 p.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Canadian Alliance Lethbridge, AB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-247, an act to amend the Criminal Code (forfeiture of property relating to child pornography crimes).

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to reintroduce this bill for the third time. When I introduced it last time I had support from all opposition parties and some support from the government. Hopefully this time the government can be convinced because Canadians across the country, the Canadian Police Association and others have come out in support of it.

This enactment amends the Criminal Code by allowing a court that convicts a person of a child pornography offence to order the forfeiture of anything in relation to which the offence was committed or the possession of which constituted the offence.

We believe it was an oversight in the Criminal Code and section 163.2 needs to be inserted after 163.1, which would allow courts upon conviction to take away the equipment that these people use to produce and distribute child pornography.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)