moved for leave to introduce Bill C-379, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (visual recording of persons in their residence).
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Scarborough—Guildwood for seconding my private member's bill.
We are quite fortunate to live in a time where we glean so many positive benefits from technological developments. That said, many of these developments have serious implications for such basic matters as privacy.
In the past, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court and other provincial courts have ruled that an individual's expectation to privacy in public areas is limited at best. While people may take offence to a neighbour making or attempting to make a visual recording of them in the privacy of their home or backyard, inadvertently or otherwise, presently it is not an offence to do so unless the crown can prove the victim was harassed, fearful or that the act of recording was of conduct sexual in nature. Barring those circumstances, a victim has to sue the person taking the recording, an exercise only the wealthy can afford.
The bill would effectively alleviate the victim from having to explain his or her activity on his or her own property, as innocent or private as it might have been.
What is worse is the retention of these recordings, which could be made public, disseminated to a specific audience or kept for personal reasons without the knowledge of those who had been recorded.
This private member's bill is drafted to capture those situations where the act of making or attempting to make a visual recording, or the publication, attempted publication or possession of the recorded material, whether made deliberately or recklessly, are made illegal, regardless of the intentions of the person recording and without the need for the crown to prove that the victim was harassed, fearful or had the use or enjoyment of his or her property interfered with in any way.
People deserve the opportunity to use and enjoy their own home and property, perhaps their last bastion of privacy, and conduct themselves as they wish without concerns that any of it is being recorded so long as the conduct is not criminal in nature.
I hope that when the bill comes before the House I can count on the support of all members of this place.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)