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Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act

An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

Sponsor

Peter MacKay  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to provide, most notably, for

(a) a new offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images as well as complementary amendments to authorize the removal of such images from the Internet and the recovery of expenses incurred to obtain the removal of such images, the forfeiture of property used in the commission of the offence, a recognizance order to be issued to prevent the distribution of such images and the restriction of the use of a computer or the Internet by a convicted offender;

(b) the power to make preservation demands and orders to compel the preservation of electronic evidence;

(c) new production orders to compel the production of data relating to the transmission of communications and the location of transactions, individuals or things;

(d) a warrant that will extend the current investigative power for data associated with telephones to transmission data relating to all means of telecommunications;

(e) warrants that will enable the tracking of transactions, individuals and things and that are subject to legal thresholds appropriate to the interests at stake; and

(f) a streamlined process of obtaining warrants and orders related to an authorization to intercept private communications by ensuring that those warrants and orders can be issued by a judge who issues the authorization and by specifying that all documents relating to a request for a related warrant or order are automatically subject to the same rules respecting confidentiality as the request for authorization.

The enactment amends the Canada Evidence Act to ensure that the spouse is a competent and compellable witness for the prosecution with respect to the new offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images.

It also amends the Competition Act to make applicable, for the purpose of enforcing certain provisions of that Act, the new provisions being added to the Criminal Code respecting demands and orders for the preservation of computer data and orders for the production of documents relating to the transmission of communications or financial data. It also modernizes the provisions of the Act relating to electronic evidence and provides for more effective enforcement in a technologically advanced environment.

Lastly, it amends the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act to make some of the new investigative powers being added to the Criminal Code available to Canadian authorities executing incoming requests for assistance and to allow the Commissioner of Competition to execute search warrants under the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act.

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.

Votes

Oct. 20, 2014 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
Oct. 1, 2014 Passed That Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, as amended, be concurred in at report stage.
Oct. 1, 2014 Failed That Bill C-13, in Clause 20, be amended by adding after line 29 on page 14 the following: “(2) For greater certainty, nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from the protections for personal information affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada decision in R. v. Spencer 2014 SCC 43.”
Oct. 1, 2014 Failed That Bill C-13 be amended by deleting the short title.
Oct. 1, 2014 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage of the Bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill; and that, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at report stage and on the day allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
March 26, 2014 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, not more than one further sitting day after the day on which this Order is adopted shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and that, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 3:50 p.m.
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Independent

Bruce Hyer Independent Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I certainly support legislation to stop cyberbullying, and I think many of the provisions on cyberbullying in this bill are good and necessary.

However, like the member for Charlottetown, I am worried about whether the government is using this issue as a Trojan horse to increase our risk of being a surveillance state. I and many others feel that the government is trying to bring back Bill C-30.

My question is this. Yesterday, the United Nations human rights committee unanimously passed a resolution to protect individuals from unlawful surveillance. It happened to be a resolution on which the government worked with the U.S. to water down.

Does the member not think that, just as victims of cyberbullying deserve protection, people's privacy rights also deserve protection?

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 3:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, of course, as Minister of Justice, I very much respect privacy rights. That is why we have a Privacy Commissioner. That is why we consulted with her on this particular bill.

However, I find it very unfortunate and troubling that this misleading, inaccurate description is applied, that references are made to a Trojan Horse and that this is a bill with a poison pill. It is not. There is prior judicial authorization required in every single clause of the bill. There is no ability for police to act without warrants. There is no ability to seize Canadians' information.

What we have done is put assurances here that would balance those concerns, that would put in place proper protections around the unauthorized distribution of information. Let us be clear on what we are trying to do here. We are trying to put police investigative powers in place on the Internet, where so much information, and therefore, danger can exist. Unfortunately, technology moved at a much faster pace than the legislation that would enable police to do their job properly.

We have seen many recent cases; for example, in Toronto, where there was information seized online that shut down a child pornography ring. We want to be able to give the police the power to do that, to protect children, protect information, protect finances and protect against terrorism. All of this is about giving police those tools in the modern era.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 3:50 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, further to the exchanges that took place after the speech given by the Minister of Justice, if people are worried about poison pills, perhaps it is because that is what the Conservatives so often have to offer. Thus, it is not surprising that people are worried about this long-awaited bill.

I think it is worth reiterating the fact that my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour had introduced Bill C-540, which addressed the issue of cyberbullying and, more specifically, the distribution of intimate images, following the suicide of Rehtaeh Parsons. We even offered to fast-track this process.

All members of this House agreed on these provisions. The government replied that it was working on the issue, and I do acknowledge that some federal-provincial-territorial meetings took place. I was very pleased to hear the Minister of Justice say that he believed in a more comprehensive approach than simply claiming that Bill C-13 would solve the problem of cyberbullying, as the bill's fancy title would suggest. Let us hope so, because the bill's title certainly promises more than it can deliver. In fact, I am sure the Conservatives have hired someone just to come up with fancy titles, such as the “protecting Canadians from online crime act”.

Still, I acknowledge that the provinces and territories were involved. There were meetings and discussions because they were the ones who raised the problems. We know we need a more holistic and comprehensive approach. The motion moved by my colleague from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, Motion No. 485, offers a comprehensive approach to bullying, but the Conservatives voted against it. There is no reason to believe that Bill C-13 will put an end to situations that have been around for a long time.

The Conservatives introduced a bill whose first seven clauses are exactly what everyone expected the Minister of Justice to introduce with respect to cyberbullying and the distribution of images. However, clauses eight and up must have come as a surprise to many. Forty-seven is a lot of clauses.

Experts on privacy and the Internet, as well as journalists, jumped at the chance to ask questions during the minister's press conference. No doubt the minister was expecting something other than those questions, all of them on the same subject, and for good reason. After what happened with the former public safety minister, people got worried about what was around the corner. I will be kind, but it was not funny when he introduced Bill C-30.

It was to be expected that people would think Bill C-30 had risen from the ashes when they saw clauses eight and up of Bill C-13. The former justice minister, the one immediately preceding our colleague opposite, promised that those clauses would not be seen again.

Journalists, who know a thing or two about the situation, did not wait one second to ask the questions that demanded to be asked of the minister, questions about cyberbullying. When he announced the introduction of his bill just last week, the minister said that everything related to cyberbullying and that there were no surprises in that regard.

Whether this is seen as a poison pill or not, the questions make it clear that this bill touches on some complicated concepts, especially from clause 8 on.

The Minister of Justice is right to say that the most serious irritants in Bill C-30 are not in the current bill. Yes, this will require warrants. However, we must still ask ourselves some serious questions about what kind of warrant will be needed and what evidence will be necessary to obtain it. Some are even saying that this lowers the threshold. Instead of talking about reasonable and probable grounds to believe something, the bill talks about suspicion. They are introducing different terms.

I think that the minister wants as many members as possible to support his bill. I therefore hope that he will be open to allowing us to study this aspect carefully. We will have some serious arguments to make in committee about these aspects of the bill. I hope that we will not be criticized or accused of supporting cyberbullies or anything like that, simply because we are doing our jobs. There are some serious questions and we do not have any definite answers to some of them today. For example, did the minister make sure that this bill is in line with the charter, since this is one of his duties?

I hope he will be referring to studies when he speaks about the bill before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. I hope he will tell us that, indeed, he and the people in his department tested the constitutionality and compliance of his bill under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, specifically in terms of privacy and the interception of personal information.

I heard my colleague from Charlottetown ask a question about an issue that is worrying some experts, and that is the warrant for voluntary disclosure of information. In his reply, the minister stressed that this was on condition that no legal prohibition existed against preserving or communicating this information. This type of provision is greatly disturbing. This is not as simple as making a request and getting a positive answer on the spot. There are some rules, but they may not be sufficient in terms of protecting privacy.

Ultimately, we are all trying to create a safe environment for our children and youth. However, in doing so, we must be careful not to create legislative monsters that allow some to slip through our fingers while ensnaring others who should have nothing to fear in a free and democratic society. On this side of the House, we have always been concerned about that.

Obviously, my heart bleeds for the parents who have gone through such terrible situations. Is there anything worse than having a child commit suicide? I cannot imagine the hell that families must go through in those circumstances.

I will tell a story that I told my colleagues this morning, as I was discussing my recommendation on Bill C-13. On the day Bill C-13 was introduced, I ran into one of my colleagues opposite in the elevator in Parliament. He was with some people who had came to see this historic tabling. This was important to them because it had to do with something they had gone through. When I was introduced as the justice critic for the NDP, Mrs. Todd looked at me and said she hoped we would support the bill.

I am always happy to support good legislation. However, sometimes my heart bleeds when I have to tell my colleagues that I cannot, in good conscience, support a bill. I often give it a chance, because I always have hope.

This is the message I have for the Minister of Justice. We must be allowed to conduct a thorough study.

I presume that the minister truly believes in what he is doing today and that he wants to help victims, parents, children, young people and adults, because adults can also be caught up in this situation.

I hope that he truly believes in what he is doing today and that the other provisions are well-founded. I hope that he has had the opportunity to study them extensively. However, the other members of the House have not had the opportunity to do so, because we were told by his predecessor that he would not bring back these kinds of provisions. Consequently, I hope he will not be surprised if we have some minor questions about this. We definitely will have some.

A number of legal organizations are asking questions. In fact, we have to compare the provisions. We have to understand what they mean. The wording used with respect to obtaining a warrant has changed. The bill says “suspect” instead of “reasonable and probable grounds to believe”. The legislator does not talk for nothing and, therefore, this must mean something.

It is not unusual to want to carefully analyze these types of provisions. The bill is very important for Canadians of all ages and races who are interested in the serious problem of cyberbullying. It is definitely a priority for all parliamentarians in the House. We will definitely not reject it out of hand at the outset.

However, I would like to say something to the families, both the Todd family and Rehtaeh Parsons' family.

I read Mrs. Todd's blog, and I was extremely moved. She asked the following question:

“Could the Cyberbullying Bill Have Saved Amanda?” She says yes.

The fact that a parent said that and is investing so much hope in a bill should strike a chord with all members.

That being said, we cannot abdicate our duty as legislators to exercise due diligence.

Today, I am urging the Minister of Justice to tell his colleagues who belong to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to take as much time as they need to study this bill, which is about a very important, very human issue that affects too many people. We have to stop thinking that this is a race against time, because it is not.

Obviously, we need solid, unassailable provisions that will eliminate this scourge, and we need them soon. However, they have to come with other provisions that are equally solid from a legal standpoint, and they have to be in line with existing laws so that, in a year or two, they will not be swept aside.

Families believe in the work we are doing. They have so much hope. We have to take the time we need to do a good job. We have to hear from experts on cybercrime and cyberbullying, on the Internet and on privacy law. We have to hear from all of those people so that we can evaluate this bill.

There are much easier ways though. I took note of what my colleague from Charlottetown said earlier when he asked the Minister of Justice a question. He asked him whether there might be a way to study the bill from two perspectives. First of all, it would have to be evaluated more quickly. I think that members of the House already support the cyberbullying and distribution of intimate images provisions in the bill.

That is why there might be a way, if everyone in the House agrees, to split the bill in two without changing or amending any of the clauses. I am not even suggesting any amendments, simply because that work will be done in committee.

Of course we want to do this work in committee. However, we want to work both on cyberbullying and the distribution of intimate images, and on the other aspect, which is the powers to be granted to police officers.

I was reading the submission of an association of criminal experts, which indicates that some provisions are cause for concern. One has to wonder what the government means by “some provisions”.

In light of this, I would like to remind the Conservatives that they have to take these concerns into account. It is important to remember what happened with Bill C-30. After an absolutely unbelievable campaign of a sort rarely seen in the House, the Conservative government backtracked, which is not something that happens very often. The Conservatives have a tendency to always push forward, even if they are hitting a brick wall. They do not often make a strategic retreat to show that they heard what the public had to say. However, that is what happened in the case of Bill C-30.

The Conservatives backtracked because Canadians felt that Bill C-30 violated their privacy and gave some people unrestricted tools. Those people may have good intentions, but once again, the devil is in the details. This made the minister backtrack, which is a good thing.

We do not want to go through all that again with Bill C-13. I will not say that Bill C-30 caused mass hysteria, because that is not true. However, people were extremely concerned, and it made us wonder exactly what the government was trying to achieve. We are asking ourselves the same thing in this case, where people expect a bill on cyberbullying and the distribution of images.

Yes, the ministers of justice and public safety from across the country examined these issues and talked about how this sort of evidence could be collected; however, they did not come up with a plan as detailed as the one set out in Bill C-13.

On one hand, there are the parents of victims who want something positive to come out of all this, and rightly so. On the other hand, there are also privacy guardians.

I do not think there is anyone in the House, including the Conservatives, who does not think this is important. They obviously talk about it less on their side, but I think that they also believe this is very important. I have never heard anyone on the Conservative side say that they do not believe in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in the right to a personal life, to a private life, to their own image, to do what they want in their own home.

There is an extremely simple way to address all of these serious concerns about Bill C-13. We would simply have to divide Bill C-13, and I would like to move that we do so.

I would like to seek the unanimous consent of the House to move the following motion: That notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, clauses 2 to 7 and 27 related to cyberbullying, be removed from Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, and do compose Bill C-15; that Bill C-15 be entitled "An Act to amend the Criminal Code (non-consensual making or distributing of intimate images)"; that Bill C-15 be deemed read a first time and printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights; that Bill C-13 retain the status on the Order Paper that it had prior to the adoption of this Order; that Bill C-13 be reprinted as amended; and that the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel be authorized to make any technical changes or corrections as may be necessary to give effect to this motion.

This would make it possible to pass Bill C-15 quickly. Then, we could more carefully study Bill C-13 as amended.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 4:10 p.m.
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Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from Gatineau for her very compelling speech, where she raised some very good points about the necessity to examine the bill in detail. I could not agree more. That will be the process, as she is very familiar.

We will have the opportunity to proceed not only through the debate in the House, but to go to committee. I think all Canadians are increasingly aware that this is the place where the real work gets done. Out of the glare of the cameras, the show and the partisanship, that is where the real work gets done.

There is a bit of a contradiction in her argument in suggesting that in the last Parliament, before prorogation, we should have rushed to pass the hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour's bill through all stages of the House and have it unanimously adopted. That would have been an empty vessel. It really undermines the argument she has just made, that, in fairness to the families and to all Canadians who are looking for a substantive response to a serious social issue, it requires the expert oversight and advice that we should receive in the committee.

Yes, I should be held to scrutiny by all members of the House. The member for Charlottetown asked an important question. I will be going before committee, again, to answer questions.

I say to the hon. member, let us work together. I am prepared to reach across the aisle to her and all members. This should be one of Parliament's finest moments, where we are able to respond to the needs of Canadians on a serious social issue. It is an issue that goes to the very heart of protecting young people, protecting information in the information age and ensuring that we are giving police the proper powers, but balanced with privacy issues, to do the work that we ask of them every day.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 4:10 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the Minister of Justice is reaching out. I see that one of his parliamentary secretaries is in the House. I am sure he heard the same words I did.

It is imperative that we take the time to really look at each and every one of these clauses.

There was no contradiction there. We said that the difference between 7 clauses and 47 was that it would take far less time to study the first seven clauses. That way, we could address the parents' need to see this issue debated.

Now the process will take longer. The government decided to incorporate elements that—while not necessarily the same as those that were in Bill C-30—are quite worrisome to groups other than victims of cyberbullying or parents of those who have committed suicide after being bullied online.

If there is unlimited time for hearing from various experts, then it is possible to split this into two. I hope that this will not be forgotten. I will take his words to committee with me, that is for sure.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 4:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank my colleague from Gatineau for her speech. She works very hard on the committee. Of course she is very knowledgeable about all of the issues at stake here.

I also spent some time going through the bill, because of the concern over the ghost of Vic Toews in the e-snooping bill. Of the 47 clauses in the bill, 37 are out of the e-snooping bill.

I certainly support the approach of the hon. member when she pleaded for adequate time to do a proper job at committee. I supported the approach of the hon. member to sever out the things that are non-controversial and that would provide some immediate relief to the families of victims, while we get into more detail on the stuff has a real potential to impact the charter rights.

In particular, she dwelled on the lowering of the evidentiary standard for certain warrants from reasonable and probable grounds to believe the commission of an offence, to suspicion. Could she elaborate a bit more on her concerns vis-à-vis the charter and the lowering of the evidentiary bar for warrants in those specific provisions, please?

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 4:15 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Charlottetown, who also works very hard on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

I appreciate that we will not be the only ones asking for sufficient time to study this bill properly. I am sure we will have the opportunity to ask the parliamentary secretary about that when he speaks later. It will be interesting to see if it means anything when people give their word in this House. I think we all share the same objective of wanting to study the bill thoroughly.

I invite the members of this House who are interested in this to look up what are known as “the forms” in this bill.

When someone goes before a judge to try to obtain the right to seize or preserve data, the police officer or individual investigating must have some evidence. That is where the terminology has been changed. Previously one had to have “reasonable and probable grounds to believe”, but that wording has been changed to “reasonable grounds to suspect”. Perhaps it means the same thing and we are worrying for nothing. That being said, we would like to debate this issue.

I worked with lawyers long enough, for nearly 30 years in fact, to know that sometimes all it takes is a change in the wording to completely mess up a case.

Accordingly, we must be very careful and do everything we can to ensure that this is the best possible bill when it comes back to the House and that it achieves the intended results.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 4:15 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her intervention on Bill C-13 and commend her for the motion she presented to the House to try to split the bill into two very separate pieces, one dealing with what the government says it is truly focused on, which is closing the gap that has been identified in the Criminal Code on cyberbullying, and to end the malicious, hurtful and sometimes deadly practice of cyberbullying and the transfer of intimate images.

I would like to ask my colleague whether she has heard from other Canadian experts about the concerns she has raised. While the government should be applauded for bringing forward provisions to close the gap in the Criminal Code for cyberbullying, it has also gone a considerable distance in another direction, which is to add huge investigative powers to authorities under the guise of modernizing the Criminal Code.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 4:20 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question. Once again, I would like to commend my colleague for his work on this issue, and for having made a promise to Rehtaeh Parsons' parents and keeping his word by introducing Bill C-540. I sincerely congratulate him.

There are many people who have concerns about Bill C-13. There are also others who have concerns about the part of the bill that deals with cyberbullying. We should keep in mind that not everyone is prepared to trust the Conservatives.

The Criminal Lawyers' Association represents 1,000 criminal lawyers in Ontario. That is quite a few. The association has concerns about the wording of the bill. It also has concerns about cyberbullying. Indeed, the association believes that the whole issue of cyberbullying in Bill C-13 is actually covered in clause 3. We are talking about a bill that has many more clauses.

What does that mean exactly? The association feels that there is a problem there. I will leave it up the association to clearly determine, in committee, what people thought they were doing, because the issue of mens rea, or criminal intent, has to be considered. This will be a refresher for those of us who are lawyers. This issue can apply, for example, in the case of a young person who receives an image from another youth concerning yet another young person.

In this bill, the Conservatives have done an incredible job of showing that there are situations where it may be difficult to prove that someone is guilty of a crime as such.

There are plenty of things like that to consider, but that will require a thorough study. By the way, we will support the bill at second reading so that it can be sent to committee. However, I must say that we will have to work long and hard on this.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 4:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, the events over the past year have impacted all Canadians. The emergence of cyberbullying in society is troubling.

We agree with the government and victims that measures are needed to prevent and address cyberbullying. We, on this side, agree that we need action to properly provide a strong and fair response to those who perpetrate such hurtful acts against others online. It really is a tragedy to hear media reports of young people with their whole lives ahead of them believing that they have no other option than to take their lives. That is how deep and cruel cyberbullying can be. We should tackle this issue in a firm and focused manner.

Just last week, we marked Bullying Awareness Week. Indeed, there was a large summit held in my riding, an international summit, with social media companies and with young people from both sides of the border, which was organized by a well-known expert in this field Parry Aftab. Anti-bullying week and the summit to which I just referred provide us with an opportunity to reflect upon how our words and actions can sometimes have such a devastating impact upon others. This, I submit, holds true, not only for our youth but also the not so young.

As I have said in the House on a number of occasions, bullying is the reality for many people. Words do matter. Often, those words inflict great devastation upon young people. We know that what was once the sole domain of the schoolyard has now moved to the online world. The traditional bully, who typically sought out a victim at school, is now able to extend his reach online. The victim of bullying at school could, at one time, get some relief when he or she would go home, perhaps finding some respite in the confines of his or her room, a place where it was safe and away from the bullies. Not any more. The bullies can now extend that reach into that bedroom, using the Internet as a virtual schoolyard.

We know that some young people say terrible things to each other online. We can only imagine how hurtful it would be to arrive home, perhaps having an already rough day, only to go online and read something about oneself that is likely untrue or perhaps embarrassing. We can only imagine how hurtful and distressing it would be to read an online post or comment calling someone a “fag” or a “dyke” or suggesting that an individual is “weird”, “fat”, “ugly” or any number of hurtful and devastating comments.

We can only imagine how this would pierce the soul of a young person, many of whom are already vulnerable with the all too common challenges of growing up. This is the reality of Canadian youth, day in and day out. This is the ruthless side of technology and the use of the Internet.

That is why we sought to address this issue through legislation last year with a cyberbullying bill from the Liberal member for Vancouver Centre, which I will address again later.

We know that school can be tough, but bullying is not the exclusive domain of young people. I submit to my colleagues that we find bullying here, in this chamber. We often attack one another. We often do so for having a different opinion on such and such a matter. We exaggerate that which is often not worth exaggerating. We do not do a very good job of listening to each other and engaging in real debate. We seem to ignore or exclude the possibility that someone else might have a helpful solution or a proposal worthy of at least a hearing. It is possible to learn from one another.

Instead, as I have experienced in my short time here, having a different opinion is sometimes tantamount to siding with the criminals, and then we use the pretext of democracy to legitimize such behaviour. This is, frankly, the poor example we sometimes give to the public and to young people.

Earlier in my remarks, I indicated that there was an international summit held in Charlottetown on bullying. The organizers of that summit were actually invited into the House of Commons last week on the day of the announcement of this introduction of this legislation. I can say that on that day we did not exactly do our best job. When these constituents, who were here at the invitation of the Prime Minister, had a chance to observe the antics on the floor of the House of Commons, it is safe to say that as advocates against bullying, they were not impressed.

Today we are debating a bill that was supposed to address bullying and the emergence of cyberbullying specifically. However, for some reason, much of this bill has little to do with cyberbullying. I was surprised by this. I actually assumed that the Conservatives would have played this one straight and up front.

Bill C-13, we were told, was to address cyberbullying. It would appear, however, that the Conservative government knowingly used this highly emotional issue as a cover to include legislative measures that have nothing to do with cyberbullying. Conflating, for example, terrorism with cyberbullying does not make any sense. Furthermore, using the scourge of cyberbullying in order to resurrect elements of the infamous Bill C-30, a piece of legislative work wholly rejected because it was in effect an e-snooping bill, is wrong.

Members will remember that bill. It was a bill proposed just last year by Vic Toews, the former Conservative public safety minister. We are also given to understand that the former minister of justice and the current Minister of Justice sought to meet with victims of cyberbullying and their families as they prepared to introduce cyberbully legislation. I commend them for reaching out.

However, much of this bill has little to do with cyberbullying, and that is why we agree with the motion that was put forward by my colleague from Gatineau to split the bill at committee. We do so because all of us on this side had genuinely hoped that it was to be a stand-alone issue; instead, we have a bill before us full of content unrelated to cyberbullying.

We know the minister consulted victims of bullying and their families. I suggest that there will not be one member of the Conservative caucus able to coherently tell Canadians why providing, for example, big telecom companies with immunity to share private information of any Canadian to the government without a warrant has much to do with cyberbullying. There will not be one Conservative MP who could say with any sense of reliability that allowing telecom companies free range to divulge to Canada's security services anything they want at any time without any exposure to civil litigation or criminal charges is in any way tackling cyberbullying. As we heard earlier in the debate, that, in my submission, is the poison pill in this legislation.

The government seems to be using victims of cyberbullying for political and partisan reasons. That is why we agree with the proposal to split this bill at committee and deal with the cyberbullying aspects of it as a stand-alone bill.

When Vic Toews introduced his odious and unconstitutional e-snooping bill last year, a bill that would have allowed widespread government invasion into the privacy of Canadians without a warrant, he did so, to his credit, up front. He did not try to hide it—well, not too much. Faced with fierce opposition to such a massive assault on the privacy of Canadians, he famously said of the member for Lac-Saint-Louis, “He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers.”

At least Vic Toews was up front in his effort to attack the privacy of Canadians.

Again the minister has a bill before the House, the vast majority of which has nothing to do with cyberbullying. I am not sure that I got an answer to my question, but I hope the Minister of Justice will do the right thing and allow the Conservative members of the justice committee the option to split this bill so that we can deal with cyberbullying as a stand-alone bill. Numerous measures from the old Vic Toews' e-snooping bill have no place in this bill.

I know that the minister will resist the temptation to suggest that we are on the side of the bullies when we seek to split the bill to deal with the cyberbullying as a stand-alone bill. To that point, let me be very clear: there is not one person in this House of Commons who does not want to combat cyberbullying.

As mentioned earlier, my colleague from Vancouver Centre, a person of great distinction and someone who has worked with victims of bullying and their families over the years, proposed a bill just last year on the very issue of cyberbullying. When it came time to vote on her bill, the Conservatives voted against it.

Since there was no discernible reason for the Conservatives to vote against her cyberbullying bill, we are left to speculate that they did so because the bill emanated from an opposition party, in this case the Liberal Party of Canada. Now here we are today, dealing with a bill we hoped would not be politicized. Unfortunately, it contains just five pages on cyberbullying, with the remaining 50-plus pages containing unrelated measures.

I earlier commended the minister for reaching out to victims of bullying as he prepared this legislation. As the minister was consulting victims of bullying and their families this summer, I contend that not one of those Canadians would have asked the minister to give telecoms and Internet service providers the right to share online data with Canadians without a warrant and to make it a criminal offence to steal cable signals or WiFi. I would challenge the minister to produce evidence if he could suggest otherwise.

Why, then, did the minister not simply do the right thing and introduce a stand-alone bill that tackled cyberbullying and only cyberbullying? Why did the minister include matters so disconnected to the issue of cyberbullying?

There are measures in the bill that seek to address cyberbullying. That much is not in dispute. As my colleague from Gatineau pointed out, they are in clauses 1 through 7.

The relevant section is the one that deals with the non-consensual exchange of intimate images. It belongs there. It is an issue that needed to be addressed, and we do not take issue with it. In light of the recent tragedies involving cyberbullying, we should support the creation of an offence to deter the non-consensual transfer of intimate images. This new offence would criminalize this kind of malicious photo sharing that specifically contributed to the tragic circumstances in which Rehtaeh Parsons decided to take her own life.

We know that cyberbullying is all too common among children and teenagers. As we proceed with addressing this issue, we must acknowledge that, given the immaturity of children, we should support preventative and restorative measures and not just punitive measures. We do not wish to see the imprisonment of Canadian children and teenagers in large numbers, so while supporting the intention of the creation of this offence, we should be careful to emphasize the importance of including a summary conviction option to allow for sufficient prosecutorial discretion, as is currently the case. I believe and hope the government will be open to that.

We should also assess and be open to addressing cyberbullying through restorative justice and non-legislative methods, and we should do so in conjunction with the provinces.

I mentioned earlier that most of this bill has little to do with cyberbullying. The measures that actually relate to cyberbullying amount to about five pages out of a bill that is more than 50 pages in length.

The government wonders why Canadians do not trust it to be up front and transparent with respect to its real agenda. If those provisions I just outlined had been placed in a separate bill, we could have proceeded. We could have sent a stand-alone bill immediately to the justice committee for review and provided the much-needed opportunity for victims to lend voice to the merits of such a bill. We could have then agreed to pass the bill at all remaining stages, and I would suggest that we could have it passed by Christmas.

Instead we have a government bill that reintroduces odious and unconstitutional measures that Canadians rejected last year. Here are just some of the measures currently in the bill that have absolutely nothing to do with cyberbullying. These measures are recycled from the bill put forward by the former minister of public safety, Vic Toews. We were told this would not happen again in light of the reaction of Canadians. The former justice minister, now occupying the national defence portfolio, said:

We will not be proceeding with Bill C-30 and any attempts that we will continue to have to modernize the Criminal Code will not contain the measures contained in C-30.

The new bill proposed today contradicts that promise in 37 of the 47 clauses contained in the bill. That is why we wish to have the bill separated and to place those provisions related to cyberbullying in a stand-alone bill.

Let me outline the elements contained in the old Vic Toews bill that we were promised would never rear its head again. These measures are now in the bill before us.

They include updates to technology-related offences such as theft of telecom signals and unauthorized use of computers, which has nothing to do with cyberbullying; the power to make preservation demands and orders to compel the preservation of electronic evidence, which has nothing to do with cyberbullying; new production orders to compel the production of data relating to the transmission of communications and the location of transactions, individuals, or things, which has nothing to do with cyberbullying; a warrant that will extend the current investigative power for data associated with telephones to all means of communication, which has nothing to do with cyberbullying; warrants that will enable the tracking of transactions, individuals, and things that are subject to legal thresholds appropriate to the interests at stake, including time extensions for warrants relating to organized crime and terrorism, which has nothing to do with cyberbullying; a so-called streamlined process of obtaining warrants and orders related to authorizations to intercept private communications, which has nothing to do with cyberbullying.

We reject using victims of bullying as a way to bring back the ghost of Vic Toews and his e-snooping bill. This was supposed to be a good day for young people and others who have been the subject of bullying online. This was supposed to be a day when this whole House, all of us, could stand in solidarity with victims of cyberbullying and support legislation that would help address its prevalence in Canada. Instead, we have politics as usual.

It is unfortunate that members who have a sincere interest and desire to address cyberbullying are being used as cover for the introduction of multiple items that have little or nothing to do with cyberbullying. The bill capitalizes on the tragic passing of teens victimized by cyberbullying to reinstate elements of legislation the government had previously withdrawn and had sworn not to reintroduce.

The current bill deprives members of a chance to stand in solidarity in addressing one of the problems affecting Canada's young people, namely cyberbullying, as a distinct and stand-alone bill. It includes provisions unrelated to cyberbullying that may infringe on civil liberties. It raises privacy concerns that ought to be referred to the Privacy Commissioner and legal experts, or perhaps be dealt with at committee prior to deliberation and debate in the House. The bill encourages telecommunications companies and Internet service providers to co-operate with the government in surveillance matters in a way that Canadians would find objectionable.

That is why we wish to have the bill split at the justice committee so that those measures, and those measures alone, that seek to address cyberbullying could be captured in their own legislation, free from the politics and division that this issue should avoid.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 4:40 p.m.
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Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it is certainly politics as usual for the Liberal Party. I will give the member this: certainly his comments are completely consistent with the Liberal approach over the last seven and a half years, which is to look for anything, any excuse, anything the Liberals can hang their hat on to oppose government legislation that would either crack down on crime or would update the Criminal Code, and in this case, go against cyberbullying. They are always looking for something, and the ironic part about it is the part that this individual is criticizing. He has got it way off base.

In terms of the bill, the old Bill C-30 that he referred to, the provisions that he and others criticized the most are not in the bill. The provisions here need judicial authorization.

I bring the hon. member's attention to one section that was actually passed by a Liberal government. He had a problem with the voluntary production of preservation orders. I would refer him to section 487.014, which says:

For greater certainty, no production order is necessary for a peace officer or a public officer enforcing or administering this or any other Act...to ask a person to voluntarily provide to the officer...

We are only adding it to preservation orders. What is this individual's problem? It is already in the Criminal Code.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 4:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, here we are with the very minister who stood in this House one year ago and said that the provisions of Bill C-30 were not coming back and that they had listened to Canadians.

There are 47 clauses in the bill, and 37 of them are from Bill C-30, so the minister who stands up in self-righteous indignation about the Liberals and what is in the code, on 37 instances, has broken his word to the Canadian people.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 4:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her question.

I completely agree with my colleague from Gatineau. We support that section. As for the other sections, we would like to have more time to study them, as she has already suggested. However, we are prepared to support the clauses regarding cyberbullying today. We thought that addressing that problem was the purpose of this bill.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 4:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments of my colleague, and I noticed that one of the references he made during his speech was to a private member's bill that dealt with cyberbullying.

Time and time again, he emphasized the fact that, no doubt, all members of the House would like to see substantial legislation to deal with cyberbullying.

I wonder if he could provide comment. If there were a higher sense of co-operation in the government to work with the opposition, Canadians could see cyberbullying legislation pass relatively quickly, if the government's intent to deal with this very important issue were genuine and it wanted to work with the opposition to deal with this issue.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 4:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, actually, thus far in this debate I have seen, quite frankly, some reasons for optimism and some exactly the contrary. I guess it is the case within the Conservative cabinet.

We heard an eminently sensible suggestion, I believe, that the bill should be split. Unfortunately, that did not receive unanimous consent, but very shortly after that we saw the Minister of Justice suggest that he was reaching across the aisle. Then we had the Minister of National Defence come in here on a very partisan rant that would indicate otherwise.

I think we all agree here in this place that the provisions within this bill that deal with the issue are non-contentious. That was the effect of the motion. It was certainly what I intended to convey in the speech. However, the problem is the 37 clauses that have been taken from the e-snooping bill. If we could separate them out, I think we would be almost back to where we were with the private member's bill from the member for Vancouver Centre.