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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 / 4:45 p.m.
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Mississauga—Erindale Ontario

Conservative

Bob Dechert ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the member could tell us if he has read the cybercrime working group report entitled, “Cyberbullying and the Non-consensual Distribution of Intimate Images”. It is dated June 2013. It was a report done for each of the federal, provincial and territorial ministers of justice and public safety. Perhaps he could take a look at recommendation 4. If the member has not read it, I recommend it to him.

Recommendation 4 requests that the government update the Criminal Code to add things that include data preservation demands and orders; new production orders to trace a specified communication, which I think was one of the things he mentioned; new warrants and production orders for transmission of data and tracking, which is another thing he mentioned; improving judicial oversight while enhancing efficiencies in relation to authorizations, warrants and orders, which is another thing he mentioned; and other amendments to existing offences and investigative powers that will assist in the investigation of cyberbullying and other crimes that implicate electronic evidence.

I think the member will find, if he reads this report, that virtually all of the investigative powers contained in this bill come from that cybercrime working group report, and I recommend that he take a look at this.

Perhaps the member could tell us if he has read this report, and perhaps he could respond directly and tell us what he thinks recommendation 4 is intended to do.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, yes, indeed I have read the report, and the hon. member is quite correct that many of the recommendations contained in the report are reflected in the bill. The problem is that the recommendations that are reflected in the bill are not limited to the scourge of cyberbullying; they are over-broad, and they overreach.

There is absolutely no way that something as broad and overreaching as what is in this bill was contemplated by the parties to that report. That report was directed at the very issue that is contained in the title, but not what is contained in the 37 clauses.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to know whether my colleague has noticed the tone of today's speeches.

Earlier, the hon. member for Gatineau showed great sensitivity, which we should all have when dealing with such issues. She talked about how issues that give rise to political discussion in the House can be very emotional for people. This is an extremely delicate and important subject.

Does my colleague not see the parallel that can be drawn between our speeches, which are supposed to focus on the best interests of Canadians, and the frequent bullying that happens on the other side of the House?

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his question.

That is something that I tried to address in my speech. The member is right in saying that we are sometimes too partisan in the House. This bill clearly addresses issues that we can all agree on. In light of that, attacking each other is not good for the public or for our public image.

I completely agree that we need to attack the problems and not each other.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
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Mississauga—Erindale Ontario

Conservative

Bob Dechert ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate today in the second reading debate on the protecting Canadians from online crime bill.

The government committed to bringing this legislation forward in the recent Speech from the Throne and has quickly delivered on this promise. This bill is a central part of the government's contribution to addressing the issue of cyberbullying and is a key element of the government's agenda to support victims and punish criminals.

It will not come as a surprise to most people to learn that Canadians have fully embraced the Internet and other mobile communication technologies, such as smart phones and social media, for communicating with friends and family, making new social connections, seeking information and creating websites and blogs.

While most people use the Internet in a constructive manner, there have been an increasing number of heartbreaking stories where young people, in particular, are using the Internet or other electronic media to engage in malicious conduct that leads to serious repercussions for the victim.

Although the issue of bullying itself is an age-old problem, technology has irrevocably changed the nature and scope of bullying. For example, bullying conducted by electronic means is easier, faster and more malicious than ever before. It also has the potential to remain in cyberspace permanently and can be done anonymously.

Over the past few years, cyberbullying is alleged to have played a part in the decision of some young people to take their own lives. These stories are heartbreaking, and I am sure I speak for all Canadians when I express our collective sorrow for these tragic events.

However, these incidents also prompt us as lawmakers to ask what we can do. What can the federal government do to prevent similar tragedies or at least ensure that we can effectively respond to these events if they occur again?

This was the exact question considered this past spring by a federal, provincial and territorial working group on cybercrime. The working group studied and considered whether or not cyberbullying was adequately addressed by the Criminal Code and whether or not there are any gaps that need to be filled.

In July, the Department of Justice, on behalf of all federal, provincial and territorial partners, publicly released the report on cyberbullying and the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.

This working group made nine unanimous recommendations with respect to the criminal law response to cyberbullying. I think it is significant to note that the very first recommendation in the report calls for a multi-pronged and multi-sectoral approach to the issue of cyberbullying and calls for all levels of government to continue to build on their initiatives to address cyberbullying in a comprehensive manner.

I wholeheartedly support this recommendation as it recognizes that cyberbullying cannot be adequately addressed by one initiative, by one level of government. In fact, most experts agree that bullying and cyberbullying are most effectively addressed through education, awareness and prevention activities. Criminal law reform represents a small but key part in this multi-sectoral approach.

Returning to the bill that is currently before us today, I am pleased to note that all of the proposals contained in the bill were recommended by the federal, provincial and territorial working group and are supported by provincial and territorial attorneys general.

The bill has two main goals: to create the new Criminal Code offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images, and to modernize the investigative powers in the Criminal Code to enable the police to effectively and efficiently investigate cyberbullying and other crimes committed via the Internet or that involve electronic evidence.

I ask all the members who have intervened so far and those who will speak following me to consider actually how the police would be able to investigate some of these cyberbullying offences, including the situation that happened in the Amanda Todd case, if we did not have these investigative powers, if the police were not able to preserve the evidence, if the police were not able to track the location of the individual who sent the bullying messages. We all know that Amanda Todd's tormentor is still at large. Would it not be nice if we could locate that person and bring him or her to justice?

I would like to focus the remainder of my remarks on the proposed new offence. The proposed offence would fill a gap related to a form of serious cyberbullying behaviour with respect to the sharing or distribution of nude or sexual images that are later used without the consent of the person depicted.

I think it is important to emphasize that the goal of this offence is not to criminalize the making of these images or even the consensual sharing of these images, such as between intimate partners or friends. Rather, this offence would focus on the behaviour that is more often becoming associated with these images, the distribution of them without the consent of the person depicted.

Quite often, the perpetrator of this behaviour is the ex-partner or ex-spouse of the person depicted in the images who is seeking revenge or looking to humiliate or harass him or her. Specifically, this new offence would prohibit all forms of distribution of these types of images without the consent of the person depicted. To secure a conviction for this offence, a prosecutor would be required to prove that the accused knowingly distributed the images and that the accused distributed the images either knowing the person depicted did not consent to this distribution or being reckless as to whether the person consented.

A key element of the proposed offence is the nature of the image itself. The bill proposes a three part definition of “intimate image” to guide the court in determining whether a particular image is one that could be a subject of the proposed offence. An intimate image is one in which the person depicted was nude or exposing his or her sexual organs or anal region or engaged in explicit sexual activity. The Criminal Code uses similar definitions in the voyeurism section, which is section 162, and the child pornography section, which is section 163.

However, the content of the image on its own would not be enough to qualify the image as an intimate image. The court would also need to be satisfied that the image was one that was taken in circumstances that gave rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy and that the person depicted in that image still retained a reasonable expectation of privacy in the image.

These two elements are key to ensuring that the proposed offence is not cast too broadly and does not capture images in which there could be no reasonable privacy interest. For example, if a person took sexual images of him or herself in the privacy of his or her own home for the individual's own personal use, the image would likely be found to be an intimate image. However, if that same person then posted those images on a public website, it is less likely that the court would find that the individual would retain a reasonable expectation of privacy, despite the fact that the initial recording of the image was privately done.

The proposed offence would be supported by several complementary amendments in the Criminal Code to provide protection to victims of this particularly contemptible form of cyberbullying. These complementary amendments would permit the court to order the removal of intimate images from the Internet and other digital networks, as well as make an order for restitution to cover some of the expenses incurred in having those images removed.

Further, the court would be empowered to order the forfeiture of tools or property used in the commission of the offence, such as a Smartphone or computer, as well as a prohibition order to restrict the use of a computer or the Internet by a convicted offender. This prohibition order would be essentially useful in cases of repeat offenders.

The legislation also proposes to permit the court to issue a peace bond against a person who has intimate images in his or her possession where there are reasonable grounds to fear that the new offence would be committed by that person. The proposed new offence and complementary amendments fill an existing gap in the criminal law and aim to provide broad protection to victims of this behaviour.

The point I just mentioned about getting a prohibition order against the use of these images when we know the person already has the images is very important. Now we will be able to intervene in a situation where we know these images exist and we suspect that a person might be about to use them for a bullying purpose and therefore we will be able to get them before they go out on the Internet, and that is very important.

I would like to refer to a couple of comments that Canadians have made about this bill since its introduction a couple of weeks ago. On November 20, Carol Todd, the mother of Amanda Todd, said:

It's a step in the right direction. The only thing that was going through my mind was that if this was in place three years ago when I first started reporting the things that were happening to Amanda…I think my daughter would be here.

Lianna McDonald of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection said that Bill C-13 “will assist in stopping the misuse of technology and help numerous young people impacted and devastated by this type of victimization”.

David Butt, counsel to the Kids' Internet Safety Alliance, said in The Globe and Mail on November 21, “the new bill is a great improvement over trying to fit the round peg of this particular problem into the square hole of our existing child pornography laws”.

On November 21 on CTV News, Allan Hubley, Ottawa city councillor and father of an unfortunate bullied teen who took his own life, said:

When we were younger, you always knew who your bully was, you could do something about it. Now, up until the time this legislation gets enacted, they can hide behind that.

I want to point out he was talking about the timing of the passing of this legislation. He further said, “Not only does it start to take the mask off of them, through this legislation there is serious consequences for their actions”.

In addition, on November 21 in The Huffington Post, Mr. Glen Canning, the father of Rehtaeh Parsons, said:

I am very grateful to hear that [Minister of Justice] and Public Safety Minister...have announced new legislation that will address this disgusting crime that devastated our daughter Rehtaeh.

In addition, the editorial in The Province newspaper on November 22 read as follows:

Changes in the law proposed in the bill will allow the police to drag the predators behind these awful crimes out from the shadows and into the blazing light of justice in courtrooms. Many will go to jail, which is right.

Finally, I would like to note that Mr. Gil Zvulony, a well-known Toronto Internet lawyer, said, “there is a logical theme to all of this, in the sense that it’s trying to modernize [the code] for the digital age”.

While this legislation is not a complete answer to the broad social phenomenon that is cyberbullying, it is a key piece of the broader response to address this complex issue. I strongly urge all members of the House to support it.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 5 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice for his speech. I am happy to see both parliamentary secretaries to the Minister of Justice in the House, and I would like to make sure that they have understood the message fully. That is my question for my hon. colleague.

We all agree on the importance of working on cyberbullying with respect to the distribution of intimate images, which is the subject of clause 3. That is key to the issue he referred to when he talked about the Todd and Parsons families and all the others. However, for the other 40-some clauses about aspects that are less well known and have not been discussed as much, will the parliamentary secretary be understanding and give the committee the time it needs to study them? Can we get some assurance that this will not be pushed through at top speed, leaving us all with our concerns unresolved? Will we get a chance to do our job properly, for once?

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 5:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I enjoy working with the hon. member on the justice committee. I find she often raises very valid and useful perspectives at committee.

However, there is a need to move quickly on this. That was outlined in the quote I read earlier from Mr. Hubley, whose son was unfortunately the subject of bullying and took his life some two or three years ago, I believe.

I would also like to point out for the member that all of the provincial and territorial ministers of justice and safety requested that the Criminal Code be updated to provide the police with the investigative tools to investigate not only cyberbullying, but things like child pornography and other forms of bullying that happen over the Internet. It is not just sexual bullying over the Internet, but other forms of bullying as well.

As I pointed out earlier, the tormentor of Amanda Todd is still at large. We would like to give the police the tools to track that individual down and bring that individual to justice.

Virtually all of the recommendations for updating the code are set out in the Cybercrime Working Group recommendation 4.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I would like to continue my discussion with the parliamentary secretary on the subject of the FPT report . It is the case that there were several recommendations that found their way into this bill.

My question for the parliamentary secretary is if he would accept that in some, if not all, of the modernizations that have taken place, the reach is much broader than the scourge of cyberbullying. For example, I would specifically ask whether the FPT report had any intentions of dealing with anything touching communication from cable stealing to hate speech.

The other thing I would invite the parliamentary secretary to touch on is what I have referred to as the poison pill. Regarding the provision of immunity to those who voluntarily disclose information to law enforcement officials that is contained in this bill, would the parliamentary secretary accept that this immunity would not extended to information provided pursuant to cyberbullying? It is not so limited, it is all-encompassing.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 5:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is quite correct. There are some additional powers beyond those recommended in the Cybercrime Working Group report. The government has taken the opportunity to update the Criminal Code to enable our investigative authorities to investigate things like child pornography or terrorism. These are all things that need to be done. The Criminal Code needs these amendments.

With respect to the cable, I would like the member to consider if his cable were being tapped into by someone who was transmitting child pornography over the Internet, or if his home Wi-Fi was being tapped into by someone who was using it to cyberbully another child, he would want to know about that and he would want that to stop. The modernization of those provisions is simply to bring them up to date.

The amendments proposed on those long-standing offences of stealing cable are already in the Criminal Code in section 327. They simply update the telecommunication language to expand the conduct, to make it consistent with other offences, such as importation and makes available to the prohibited conduct, which is also set out in section 327. These are really in the manner of housekeeping amendments, which need to be done to make those particular provisions more effective.

However, I would like him to think about the potential for someone who is doing cyberbullying, transmitting child sexual images, or perhaps planning a terrorist act, doing it by tapping into some law-abiding citizen's cable or Wi-Fi Internet access.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the parliamentary secretary. We have two excellent parliamentary secretaries, as was mentioned. As chair of the justice and human rights committee, we have worked very well with all parties in putting aside the appropriate time to deal with the issues that have come in front of the committee. I assume that will continue in the future.

At the end of the day, Bill C-13, which is related to other legislation that our government has done in the past, is to help protect victims. It is not about the perpetrators. It is about the victims and what we as a government can do to help the security and safety of all Canadians and those who have, unfortunately, become victims.

Could the parliamentary secretary comment on why this is important legislation for victims of cyberbullying?

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is obviously very important for the victims. We have victims in well known, reported cases who have asked the government and have spoken out publicly for these types of crimes to be addressed. Also, there are victims we do not know about. There are perhaps thousands of young people who have been cyberbullied in various ways. Some have suffered greatly as a result of that. Some may even have taken their own lives. We do not know their stories. Their stories have not been told and we need to reach out to those victims as well.

We need to ensure that all our criminal laws redress what we have seen over the years as an imbalance between the rights of the offender and the rights of the victims and law-abiding citizens of Canada. When we do that, we restore the faith of the Canadian people in the justice system, and that is very important.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

Paulina Ayala NDP Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, something is bothering me. I agree that our children need to be protected and that we need to protect victims of bullying.

I clearly remember that my colleague from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord moved Motion No. 385. I would like to ask the following question. Why did the Conservative Party reject that motion? It would have allowed us to already have a national strategy in place. I would like an answer to that question.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe the member was referring to a private member's motion previously brought forward by a member from Vancouver. I do not know if it referred to cyberbullying. In response to the Liberal critic's comment is that this motion was not well designed. It did not include the investigative powers necessary to allow the police to actually investigate crimes, preserve the evidence of cyberbullying and to locate and arrest those responsible for the offence. However, I would be happy to speak to my colleague about Motion No. 385, that she refers to, at a later date.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

November 27th, 2013 / 5:15 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to rise for what time I have to speak to Bill C-13.

Bill C-13 was introduced by the government to deal with the issue of cyberbullying. That is how it was lauded in the foyer of this chamber last week. That is primarily how it has been discussed by the minister and by the parliamentary secretary. They would suggest that it is focused entirely on dealing with the problem of cyberbullying.

My colleague, our justice critic, the member for Gatineau, has pointed out that the bill would deal with two very serious issues. It would deal with cyberbullying, but then it would also deal with the whole question of the invasive interception of signals and the power given to authorities, which it may in fact overreach. There have been concerns raised by privacy experts, by digital experts, that the government is being too cute by half, frankly, by trying to hide changes under the auspices of modernizing the Criminal Code and as changes to the Criminal Code simply to deal with the issue of cyberbullying.

We are very concerned about this. My colleague brought forward a very sensible motion, asking the government and other members of the House to split the bill. We have almost unanimous agreement in the House that the matter of cyberbullying needs to be addressed, and it needs to be addressed now. We all recognize the fact that there is a gap in the Criminal Code that needs to be closed. We need to focus on that. We need to target that. We can deal with it in a manner that is expeditious. We can have some debate in the House. We can send it to committee. We can hear from affected families and hear from experts, and undoubtedly come to some agreement to ensure that piece of legislation gets through and gets enacted into law. That can be done, as I said, very expeditiously.

However, the government has decided to be, I would say, less than transparent. It would not be a surprise for anyone to hear me accuse the government of being less than straightforward. It is introducing amendments that would simply complicate the matter and would create some problems.

I would suggest there is no question and it concerns me that the minister and the government have been extraordinarily disingenuous with this. It concerns me considerably, as a member of Parliament, as a politician, that the current government is frankly playing on the emotions of the families involved, of individuals in this country who want to see this matter addressed. Frankly, that is shameful. Even though I have been around the House for a while and this game for a while, nonetheless, it shocks me when I see acts of this kind.

Let me take members back to why it is that we are dealing with the question of cyberbullying and its problems.

It certainly came to my attention very quickly and very starkly last spring when 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons took her life. Her parents found her hanging in the bathroom of their house. This young woman was being bullied, was being harassed, was being cyberbullied as a result of an incident that had happened two years previously, where intimate images of her were being transmitted on the Internet without her consent and with malicious intent.

The evidence would suggest that those actions and the subsequent ganging up and piling on of individuals and the distribution of those images had the effect of that young woman feeling that she was completely without hope, and she took her own life.

The Government of Nova Scotia responded quickly, I would suggest. Back in 2011 there had been a cyberbullying task force chaired by Wayne MacKay. It had done some impressive work and made some important recommendations about cyberbullying. The task force had consulted with young people in all sectors throughout the province and had come up with a set of recommendations that were clearly there, at hand. The government immediately moved to put some of those into place and to develop a response to this tragedy. It was not just Rehtaeh and Amanda Todd. There was Jamie Hubley and there was Pam Murchison's young daughter in Nova Scotia who was bullied online and took her life.

This is far too often, and it is a situation that clearly has reached a stage where we finally recognize as a society that this is behaviour that has to stop. The government of this land has to bring forward changes to the Criminal Code, to the laws of the land, to ensure that people are held accountable, that people understand that there are consequences to these violent acts and that they will be held accountable.

Changing the laws is not all that needs to be done. There is much more that needs to be done and I will talk more about that later on or perhaps tomorrow, depending on how much time I have.

Last spring in late April or early May, Rehtaeh's mom came to Ottawa with her husband and met with the Minister of Justice and the Prime Minister to talk to them about the issue, about the fact that they wanted to see some action. Not only was the Minister of Justice there but the premier was also with her, supporting the family. They wanted to talk to the Prime Minister and government about what was being done and what they thought the Government of Canada could do to help in the response, because it has to be a collaborative response at all different levels.

The same day, Rehtaeh's mom came and visited with the Leader of the Opposition, my colleague, the member for Gatineau, and me. We listened to them and to their anguish and their cry for action on behalf of the government to try to ensure that the tragic circumstances that led to the death of their daughter did not continue, and the Government of Canada did what it could.

We asked the justice minister of Nova Scotia and the Parsons what they felt needed to be done. They talked about a gap in the Criminal Code. The minister of justice specifically referred to section 162 and some changes that needed to occur in order to ensure the gap was closed. They also told us that the government had given some commitment to act and to move forward on some of these things. We made a commitment. We said to Leah, “What can we do, as the official opposition?” She told us that we could help push the government and asked us to do what we could to get the government to move forward to act on this, as they indicated they would. We all made that commitment to them that we would hold the government's feet to the fire and move it forward.

From that, we came up with a private member's bill, which was later tabled and I was very proud to sponsor, but it was from the official opposition. It was from our leader, our justice critic and other members who are concerned about this issue, all members of our caucus.

I tabled Bill C-540 on our behalf, which was a piece of legislation specifically targeted toward the issue of the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. It laid out penalties. It was targeted. It was not 60 pages. It was one, maybe two pages.

The reason I raise that is that we introduced it in the spring before the session ended and said to the government, “Here you go. This is what we think. We have consulted with experts on this issue and this is the best advice that we have received to deal with this issue. This is our recommendation on how to close that gap. We can do it and we can do it quickly.” We asked the government to move. That was before the House adjourned. We hoped that we would see some action in early September.

It did not matter to me if the government passed Bill C-540, sponsored by Robert Chisholm. That did not matter. I wanted the government to move forward on this issue. I was excited, even though the government decided to prorogue the House and delay everything and not come back until the middle of October rather than the middle of September, further delaying dealing with this issue. Nonetheless, it indicated in the throne speech that it was going to move forward on the issue. Again, I was encouraged by that.

Here we are another month later and the government, while it has moved forward with changes to the Criminal Code to deal with cyberbullying, could not help itself. It had to shove some more stuff into it. It had to try to hide some other things in behind those important provisions. It had to muck it up by dealing with issues that were contentious, coming from a piece of legislation that got driven out of the House last year, Bill C-30. It brought those provisions in through the back door and tried to hide them behind the cyberbullying provisions, thinking nobody would notice.

I can tell members that I am focused like a laser on trying to get these changes to the Criminal Code on cyberbullying through on behalf of not only Rehtaeh's family, the Todds and other families across this country, but anybody, any adult who has had violence committed upon them as a result of the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, sometimes known as revenge porn. I am focused like a laser to make sure that we get these changes through the House. However, I cannot tell members how much it sickens me that the government is bringing forward other changes that are making the bill extremely complicated. There will be people coming forward at committee who will be raising serious concerns about what else the bill does, other than with respect to cyberbullying.

If the government was serious it would have paid attention to the motion introduced by my colleague, the member for Gatineau, to split the bill, to separate sections 1 to 7 and section 26, I believe it was, into a bill on cyberbullying so we could deal with that and get it done. The remainder would be an issue the justice committee would deal with at some length.

It is an important and complicated issue. It is a matter that must be dealt with. It must be dealt with in a number of ways. I will talk about that tomorrow.

My time is almost up. I want to talk a bit about the whole question of bullying and how we need a national strategy like the one introduced by my colleague, the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord. We need that kind of commitment to deal with bullying and cyberbullying.

I hope that we can deal with this once and for all on behalf of the government. I look forward to continuing my remarks tomorrow.