An Act to amend the Criminal Code (non-consensual making or distributing of intimate images)

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

This bill was previously introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session.


Robert Chisholm  NDP

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


Outside the Order of Precedence (a private member's bill that hasn't yet won the draw that determines which private member's bills can be debated), as of June 17, 2013
(This bill did not become law.)


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

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to create the offence of non-consensual making or distributing of intimate images for a malicious purpose.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 10th, 2014 / 1:05 p.m.
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Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in this House to speak to this very important bill. I want to thank my colleagues who, both in committee and in the House of Commons, have defended our New Democrat position in opposition to the bill, and have spoken of what we expected from our proposal to ensure that the bill is about putting a stop to cyberbullying, as it says it is.

Unfortunately, what we have, once again, is the Conservative government using language—and in this case, I would also argue, using people who are in vulnerable situations—to put forward a regressive agenda that has everything to do with attacking people's privacy. It leaves tremendous loopholes in terms of powerful actors gaining access to private information, and that would do very little to put a stop to cyberbullying, which is a very serious and sometimes tragic problem in our society.

We have heard from my colleagues as to why we do not support the bill. We put forward, I believe, 37 amendments at committee to improve the bill. We indicated that whether it is the private member's bill put forward by my colleague, the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, for an anti-bullying strategy, or the bill put forward by my colleague, the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, to deal with sexual images and exploitation online, there are ways we can try to put a stop to cyberbullying and to the way in which too many people are exploiting privacy, private images, and taking advantage of people, in many cases young women, online.

What I find most disturbing about the debate and discussion around Bill C-13 is the way in which the tragic stories of young women who took their own lives as a result of cyberbullying are being used by the current government to push its agenda.

I do not know how many more ways we can say that this is wrong, that this is beyond disrespectful. It is disturbing, frankly.

I have had the opportunity to meet with the mother of Amanda Todd, and I have met with other youth, including those involved in Jer's Vision, who have done a great deal to try to fight bullying and cyberbullying in our communities. These are people with ideas. Sometimes these are ideas that come from places of immense pain, of having lost a loved one or having themselves experienced suicidal thoughts to get away from bullying. Despite that, they are proposing ideas. They are finding ways in their communities, and they are calling upon leaders at all levels of government, particularly at the national level, to take steps that would have an impact on ending bullying.

I am particularly encouraged by those who are applying a gender lens to this kind of bullying because we know it has a gender lens. There were the high-profile cases of young people who took their own lives as a result of cyberbullying, and they were women. In many of the cases, unfortunately, particularly in the mainstream media, women's experiences when it comes to the use of bullying was missed. Sexual objectification is very different and can lead to some very devastating situations.

I also want to acknowledge the way in which LGBT youth, lesbian, gay, and trans youth, are often the targets of cyberbullying, which has a gendered lens as well. Yet nowhere in Bill C-13 is there any plan to act on, not just bullying, but the cyber-misogyny that we see running rampant online and in our society.

I would like to turn the attention of the House and of those who are listening to the phenomenal work being done across the country to draw attention to cyber-misogyny and the way in which we can take legal action, but more importantly, employ policies and invest socially in order to put an end to cyber-misogyny.

I want to draw attention to the recent report by West Coast Leaf called “#CyberMisogyny” that is entirely about what all of us at the federal, provincial and municipal levels, in our schools and even in our homes can do to begin putting an end to cyber-misogyny. It is not a quick fix and it certainly is not Bill C-13. What it requires is real leadership and tackling the very serious issues of inequality, violence against women, sexual harassment, and the marginalization of girls and women in our society.

It also means taking bold action when it comes to putting an end to the discrimination of trans people and the particular discrimination that trans women face, and recognizing that we have a role to play. Sadly, all I hear in the House is the way in which the Conservative government is using the stories of young women who experience cyber-misogyny to put forward its own agenda, which has nothing to do with that. The hypocrisy, and frankly, the disregard for these women's memories is, like I said, disturbing.

In taking the next steps, I would encourage the government to not only see the value of dropping this badly thought out bill, which stands to benefit some of the government's agenda with regard to pulling people's private information and having access to people's private lives in a way that it sees as helpful, I guess. However, there are other steps it ought to be taking.

For one, it could support the motion that I put forward, a national action plan to end violence against women. It could work with this side of the House to try to find a way to build a comprehensive anti-bullying strategy, including working with community organizations and young leaders who are on the front lines and understand what it means to be a victim of cyberbullying.

It could also look at specific measures, as I have indicated, including Bill C-540 that was introduced in the House last June, which would make it an offence to produce or distribute intimate images of an individual without his or her consent. The list goes on, and many of my colleagues have been pointing to the actual steps that the government could be taking to put an end to cyberbullying.

I would like to end with a demand that so many people have, that the memories of those young women such as Amanda Todd and others not be used as a front for what is, once more, a piece in the regressive agenda put forward by the federal government. It can do better.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 10th, 2014 / 12:40 p.m.
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Philip Toone NDP Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the bill has been a long time coming. I just do not understand why the Conservative government was so slow in moving it forward. We proposed amendments during the process, but they were rejected. That could have moved the bill forward much more quickly.

In the past as well, our member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour presented Bill C-540. A number of the elements that are in the beginning of Bill C-13 were in fact in his private member's bill, but the government side rejected it.

Why did the member vote against Bill C-540?

Report StageProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2014 / 5:05 p.m.
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Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, earlier we debated a time allocation motion on this bill. The Conservatives told us that this was urgent and we needed to vote right away. However, if this was so urgent, why did they not support Bill C-540, introduced by my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour? Indeed, much of that bill is repeated in Bill C-13.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 6 p.m.
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Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, last night in Halifax I was with some friends, a group of women, some feminists. We were getting together to talk about different issues. I said that I was speaking to a bill tomorrow and asked if any of them had any feedback or perspectives they thought were missing in this debate. Everyone knew instantly what bill I was talking about.

Rehtaeh Parsons' story has touched us all in Nova Scotia. It has left an indelible mark on all of us as Nova Scotians to know that this woman died by suicide as a result of images about her spread over the Internet. It has also ignited a really good and healthy debate in Nova Scotia. Everyone has taken part in this conversation, and we are trying to find solutions. The province put together a cyberbullying task force to think about what steps the province can take to prevent this tragedy from happening again. The debate has been lively, solemn, and very real. People have taken this burden seriously and have said that this is something we need to figure out as a community.

I was at this gathering of friends last night, and I told them I had to speak to this bill. One of the women I was with said, “The problem you will have tomorrow with this speech is that the Conservatives are not actually interested in issues. They are just interested in advancing their own agenda, and if they happen to find a situation or a case that helps them advance that agenda, they will use that opportunity to their advantage”. I really believe that this is what is happening here.

There are many reasons why I care about this issue. I care because Rehtaeh Parsons was a member of my community, because she was raped, because she was humiliated, and because she felt that the only option for her, the only way to end that humiliation, was suicide.

I care about this bill as a woman and as a public figure who understands the hurtful and humiliating power of the Internet. I care about this bill as a feminist. I care about this bill as a legislator, because Rehtaeh Parsons is not the only victim. I want to ensure that we have legislation in place to prevent cyberbullying. I want to send a message to Canadians that the distribution of private images without consent will not be tolerated. There are a lot of reasons to care about this bill.

I know that I speak for all of my NDP colleagues when I say that we must better protect people of all ages from the distribution of private images without consent. That is without any controversy. We were all proud to support our colleague, the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, when he tabled his bill. He worked to present a balanced and sensible proposal to deal with this issue. He proposed Bill C-540, a bill that would make it an offence to produce or distribute intimate images of individuals without their consent. We stand in solidarity with the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour. Rehtaeh Parsons' parents are his constituents. He made a commitment to them to figure out how we could change the law to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again.

However, as my friend said last night, the Conservatives do not have an interest in this issue. They have an interest in advancing an agenda, because Bill C-13, the bill we have before us, goes well beyond what we need to do to change legislation to prevent cyberbullying. The scope of this bill is much larger than my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour's proposal.

Members will remember when the former public safety minister, Vic Toews, stood up in this House and said that we were with them or with the child pornographers. That was in February 2012. It was a pivotal moment for me in my experience as a member of Parliament, because the response from the community was swift and strong. Canadians said, “Not on our watch does a member get away with saying stuff like that”.

That was February 2012. It was when government introduced its hyperbolically named “protecting children from Internet predators act”. It was a bill that everyone rejected. We in the NDP rejected it, privacy advocates rejected it, and the public rejected it. The government was shamed into pulling this bill, never to be heard from again or so we thought.

Here we are and it is two years later, and finally the Conservatives have figured out a way. They have found their vehicle to get those changes brought in. This is their vehicle. This is their opportunity. They are taking two very tragic events, the deaths of Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons, and are using those events to advance their own agenda because, lo and behold, two years later we find the long-forgotten aspects of the Toews bill here in Bill C-13. Only this time it is under the auspices of cyberbullying.

What does targeting banks' financial data have to do with cyberbullying? What does making changes to the Terrorist Financing Act have to do with young people and the spread of images online without consent? If they are trying to prevent cyberbullying, why in the world do they need to change rules around telemarketing and the theft of communications services? It is a gross misuse of our privilege, the privilege we have as parliamentarians. It is dishonest and it is an abuse of the trust Canadians put in us when they cast their ballots.

If we were honest about our commitment to preventing cyberbullying, we would pass my NDP colleague's motion. If we were honest about our commitment to preventing bullying, we would have passed the motion put forward by my colleague, the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, to develop a national anti-bullying strategy. If we were honest about our commitment to preventing cyberbullying, we would have split this bill a long time ago.

I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Gatineau, who has worked incredibly hard on the bill, giving us advice as members of Parliament, doing the legal analysis, going to committee. She has tried at every turn to split the bill, because we agree with parts of it but not the rest.

It would be an incredible victory if we could say that this piece of legislation passed with unanimous consent, that there we were as parliamentarians, united in working to prevent cyberbullying. Instead, we have everything and the kitchen sink thrown into one bill, so of course the New Democrats have to say no. Of course we have to vote against it and that is going to be used for political partisan purposes. Thank goodness we cannot send ten percenters into other people's ridings anymore, because I know I would have one sent into my riding saying, “Do you realize that the member for Halifax voted against protecting your children?”

It is for partisan purposes. We should be splitting the bill. We have tried to split the bill. We also have tried to bring forward amendments. These are not crazy, complicated ideas for fixing the bill. They are simple and elegant. Some of these changes are not deal breakers; it is just changing a word. An example is raising the standard from “reasonable grounds to suspect” to “reasonable grounds to believe”. It is one simple word. We know what the solution is. Change that word from “suspect” to “believe” because there is a world of difference between those two concepts. I am suspicious all the time. Do I actually believe that things are happening? Probably not. It is a big legal difference. It is an elegant and simple solution. We proposed it after hearing from witnesses at committee, yet the proposition was voted down.

When my colleague, the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, introduced his bill in June 2013, this was, as I said, a commitment to his constituents, Glen Canning and Leah Parsons. The member did an interview with Tobi Cohen, a journalist here on Parliament Hill, on July 22, 2013. He said at that time that he does not care who gets credit as long as it gets done, and he hoped the government would introduce a piece of legislation, because as we know, the process of passing government legislation is much more swift. The member said, “I hope that they don’t try to wrap too many things into one piece of legislation”.

Maybe we should not be so cynical as to try and predict that this kind of thing is going to happen, but it is the modus operandi here these days. Perhaps I can address some of my other points when I answer questions.

I find this whole bill to be disappointing. I really wish we could have worked together on this.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 5:15 p.m.
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Robert Chisholm NDP Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to some extent to participate in the debate at this particular time, at the report stage.

I want to start by commending my colleagues, our justice critic and other members of the justice and human rights committee, who have worked so hard on Bill C-13 and introduced 37 amendments at the committee stage to try to take away some of the more onerous portions of this particular bill so that it would not, for example, spend the rest of its life in court being challenged constitutionally. It has taken a fair bit of effort and energy, I know, and patience on their part to do what they have done. I want them to know how much I appreciate it.

I want to, also, remind members that back on October 17, 11 months ago almost, I rose on a point of order to say that I was concerned about the issue that had been raised in my private member's bill, Bill C-540, making it a criminal offence to distribute non-consensual intimate images. While I had heard from the government in the throne speech and from utterances of the then minister of justice that he supported this in principle, I was concerned that the issue would get bundled up in a major piece of legislation, a controversial piece of legislation, and that it may get delayed or lost.

I sought unanimous consent at that particular time to consider Bill C-540 deemed read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. I did so because everyone in the House, of all parties, to a person, said that they supported the idea of holding people to account, changing the Criminal Code to ensure that the non-consensual distribution of intimate images was a crime and that people were going to be held accountable. I then moved a motion to say, let us move this to committee right now. This is a serious situation. It's affecting families. It is affecting lives across the country. Let us deal with it now. There is a will here. Let us find the way.

Unfortunately, that was turned down by the government.

It is interesting. The government then brought in Bill C-13, the initial portions of which dealt with the same issue that my private member's bill did, a little more thoroughly, of course, but it dealt with it. However, then the government did exactly what I and many of us were afraid of. It tacked on a great deal of what was in the former bill, Bill C-30, which it had to yank off the table two years ago because it was so soundly repudiated by privacy experts and others from across the country. The government attached it to the back of the cyberbullying bill.

When it introduced the bill, it did so in the company of the parents of people who had committed suicide, who had taken their lives as a result of cyberbullying, and it said, “We're here to deal with this”. It did not talk about the other parts of it.

Of course, there was great hope in those families and by advocates across the country that the government was going to move forward on this. Lo and behold, as is too often the case with the Conservatives, we got involved in a very controversial debate. We began to learn more about what was really in the bill, and advocates and privacy experts from across the country began to raise concerns.

Even one of the parents, who stood with the minister when the bill was introduced, said at committee that even though she wanted the Criminal Code to be changed to make the non-consensual distribution of intimate images a crime and that there should be consequences, she could not abide what else was in the bill, the outrageous and invasive parts of the bills that would allow for information on the Internet to be more accessible to authorities.

As was talked about in the recent Spencer case, the Supreme Court said it was about barring Internet service providers from disclosing names and addresses. It said that Canadians have the right to be anonymous on the Internet.

Here we have a bill that has been cloaked as an attempt to deal with the heartbreak and anguish experienced by families across the country as a result of their loved ones being bullied mercilessly through the Internet. It is a bill that has been identified as being meant to deal with that, yet in fact it is much more.

I had the opportunity to talk today with another parent. I explained to that parent what had happened, how things have progressed, the concerns that we have with the bill. I explained that the NDP would not be supporting this legislation.

He knew this anyway, because of work we had done in the past, the support I have provided, and the things we were doing together with other people to build awareness and to try to deal with this scourge of teen suicide. He understands my commitment. He, too, is shaken by the infringement on privacy provisions that are part of this bill. I am not going to tell the House that he gave me a pass, but he understands my concerns. He appreciates that I have tried to work, and will continue to work, with him and others to deal with this problem.

The point is that we are here. It has been a year and a half since I introduced the private member's bill, and it is another year and a half into this serious problem. We have still not dealt with it.

I get discouraged sometimes in this House when it seems that we cannot get from one point to the other without creating all kinds of controversy and hard feelings, bitterness and division.

Right now, as we speak, there are people in communities who are helping to build awareness of why cyberbullying is wrong. They are coming up with strategies to identify when teenagers and others are beginning to experience feelings of depression and suicide.

One of the parents I spoke to said that the most gratifying thing that happens as he goes across the country talking to junior and high school students is when the 12-year-olds and 13-year-olds come up to him. They are saying there is a problem and that this is what they are doing about it. The students are telling him what they are doing because they recognize it.

This is what is happening in communities across the country. People are recognizing that they have to step up and do something, because unfortunately governments are not up to the task.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 4:30 p.m.
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Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to rise and speak on a motion that I believe to be critical, so it saddens me that I will have to speak against it. It is 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.

Let me give a bit of perspective. In that regard, I want to congratulate my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, who introduced Bill C-540 in 2013, following the tragic death of Amanda Todd and other victims of cyberbullying, including Rehtaeh Parsons. These deaths moved the nation. I would say that the feelings across the country were palpable. It did not matter whether one lived on the west coast, on the Prairies, or on the east coast; families right across Canada lived the pain that those families went through.

The bill put forward by my colleague was a fairly reasonable one. As members know, at that time the Conservatives introduced legislation as well, Bill C-30. Bill C-30 was from the minister of the day, who is no longer in the House. There was a huge, almost unprecedented reaction to that bill, especially through social media. Just to remind us all, Bill C-30 was called the “protecting children from Internet predators act”. That bill was rejected not only by the NDP, based on what was included in it, but also by privacy advocates and the public. That reaction forced the Conservative Party to back away from it.

I can remember some of the rhetoric from that time when it backed away from that legislation, which was ill thought out and an absolute invasion of privacy. At that time, I can remember hearing commitment from the government side that any attempts to modernize the Criminal Code would not contain the measures contained in Bill C-30. Now here we are on Bill C-13.

There are parts of this legislation that the official opposition heartily and happily supports. On more than one occasion we have suggested to the government that if it is serious about taking action on cyberbullying, it should separate the bill. We offered to expedite it through the House. It would have been law already.

However, once again I find the party sitting across from this side playing games with a very sensitive issue, producing a bill that has some good parts to it that we want to support but then throwing in parts that it knows will make it difficult for us to support the bill.

The NDP is never scared of hard work, whether it comes to standing up to speak on issues in the House and taking up allocated time spots, and normally filling in even for the government side because it does not take up all its speaking slots, or when it comes to committee work. In order to make this bill palatable and make it go through the House, the opposition put forward 37 amendments. They were all reasonable amendments that would have added some balance to the bill.

What is shocking is that the government did the same as it has done on bill after bill. It was its way or no way. It rejected every single one of those amendments.

The Canadian Bar Association came to present as well. I am not talking about a radical group here. I am talking about lawyers. The Canadian Bar Association expressed the same concerns as the NDP and other witnesses. It put forward 19 possible amendments to the bill, but not one of those amendments was taken into consideration.

Once again, the Conservatives are trying to bury things in a bill so they can get their agenda through, but at the same time they are trying to bury some legislation that is absolutely needed.

I have been a teacher all of my life. I am also a mother and a grandmother. The world has changed for our children. They are spending more time on the Internet or attached to their cell phones, although many of us are guilty of that too. They are socializing differently as well.

We have to look at modernizing the way we see bullying. It is no longer just about bullying in the playground, where a child is bullied physically or verbally, face-to-face. Cyberbullying allows for a certain amount of anonymity. We have seen the tragic results of that kind of bullying. We have seen its impact on young people.

It is upsetting for me today to speak against a bill that contains a component that I support. I would urge my colleagues across the way to take a second and consider that we could have the cyberbullying component in the bill turned into legislation quickly. We need to get off the ideological idea that we cannot have a simple bill that deals with one issue. We have to get off the ideological idea that other stuff has to be thrown in to get the ideological agenda done. It also gives those members an opportunity to stand up later and say that the NDP voted against this.

Motions in AmendmentProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

September 22nd, 2014 / 3:25 p.m.
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Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC


Motion No. 7

That Bill C-13 be amended by deleting Clause 23.

Motion No. 8

That Bill C-13 be amended by deleting Clause 26.

Motion No. 9

That Bill C-13 be amended by deleting Clause 47.

Mr. Speaker, this morning we debated the bill on prostitution. This afternoon, we turn to the bill on cyberbullying. I am almost tempted to start out the same way. This bill also garnered a lot of attention and caused quite a stir. I received many comments from my constituents in Gatineau about this. These people had the same concerns I did. That told me that I was on the right track when it came to the position that the NDP and I took on this file.

I believe it is important to reiterate that many people take the government at its word and believe that it can have a positive impact on the lives of the young people who have suffered all kinds of bullying, their parents and everyone who has been affected by bullying.

As we all know, Bill C-13 was created in the wake of tragic situations involving certain Canadians. Young people committed suicide. Suicide can happen anywhere, in the armed forces and in the general population. Bullying is not a new concept. It has existed for many a moon. I think that we need to find real solutions to offer help instead of playing politics.

From the outset, our approach was not to hold up Bill C-13, but to allow it to take its course. We wanted to be sure that there was an in-depth study in committee and that various witnesses would be able to share their point of view on the bill.

The bill is known as the protecting Canadians from online crime act. It contains 47 clauses and is 53 pages long, but it does not even touch on cyberbullying or online crime. Rather, Bill C-13 addresses the distribution of images, one very small part of bullying. The rest of the bill addresses issues as varied as immunity for Internet service providers, the concept of peace officers and public officers, telecommunications theft and so on. Bill C-13 covers a lot of ground.

We shared these concerns with the minister, the Attorney General of Canada. We thought it would be wiser to split the bill in two so that we could tackle the image distribution issue head-on since it was not as controversial. As for the touchier violation of privacy issue, there are tools that the minister makes a point of talking about regularly, saying that we cannot do one without doing the other. He would have us believe that there are currently no tools available, but there are. We wanted to make sure that what we were doing on that score was completely reasonable. However, the government turned a deaf ear.

Naturally, witnesses told us exactly the same thing and said they were very concerned. Many aspects of Bill C-13 resemble Bill C-30, even though the government agreed to some changes and realized it could not go any further with that particular vision. It did make some minor concessions. The government tried to address cyberbullying via image distribution and the highly publicized cases of Rehtaeh Parsons, Amanda Todd and others who did the worst thing imaginable. Seeing no way out of the problems they faced, they saw that as the only solution. That really breaks my heart.

Everyone will agree that there is nothing worse than thinking that suicide is the only way to solve a problem or the only way out. As a society, we are failing miserably. In my opinion, claiming that Bill C-13 will save young lives is laying it on rather thick.

I do not want to dwell on the issue, but even Amanda Todd's mother told the committee that she did not want people's privacy to be invaded in order to keep others safe. That was not necessarily the objective. Once again, the government is failing to be transparent. Like Sophia Petrillo-Weinstock in the television show Golden Girls, I am tempted to say, “Picture it”.

Thursday, June 12 was the last day set aside for the clause-by-clause examination of Bill C-13. On Friday, June 13, the Supreme Court of Canada was scheduled to render its decision in Spencer v. The Queen. This case dealt with the matter of police access to personal information. Several witnesses who appeared before the committee said that this case would definitely have an impact. At the very least, the government should have exercised caution and waited for the Supreme Court ruling.

Some believe that the committee merely conducted a concept study, but that was not the case. The government was producing legislation. The government bill is 53 pages long and we examined it. Then, the committee heard from witnesses with regard to the various aspects of the bill that they were concerned with. For some, it was the distribution of images. For others, it was the violation of privacy and technology. We heard from a whole slew of witnesses who were concerned about very different aspects of the bill.

The people who were dealing with the part related to the interception of data and the gathering of information without a warrant or court authorization felt it was important to wait for the Spencer ruling. After it was tabled, some experts indicated that the June 13 ruling contradicted certain aspects of the government's bill. That is what we were trying to avoid. We had therefore asked the government to wait.

Time and time again in committee, I asked whether we should not wait until June 13. Should we not read the ruling? Should we not seek advice from staff at the Department of Justice who could explain the ruling to us and tell us whether or not it would have an impact?

In law, if you put five lawyers in a room, they would not all say the same thing. In the House, not everyone is a lawyer. Furthermore, even amongst those of us who are lawyers, not everyone is a specialist in every subject. That is why we study things in greater depth in committee, come back to the House with our recommendations, and then vote with full knowledge of the facts.

At this very moment, regardless of my personal opinion and the fact that several specialists said that the ruling in R. v. Spencer goes against many aspects of the bill, I am quite worried. If there is one area in which I do not want to see any glaring errors, that is justice. Justice must be applied correctly and equally across the board.

All that explains why we changed our position. We supported the bill at second reading, but all of our fears regarding this government bill were confirmed in committee.

It seems that the government is using this bill to try to score political points rather than make any meaningful changes. The evidence is quite clear. The fact is, the government voted against the motion moved by my hon. colleague from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, M-385, regarding cyberbullying. Furthermore, it also voted against the bill introduced by my hon. colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, Bill C-540.

Basically, if you ask me, everything is crystal clear.

There is also Bill C-279, introduced by my hon. colleague who delivered a speech on it this morning.

This all tells me that this bill is more about politics than anything of real substance.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

April 28th, 2014 / 6 p.m.
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François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-13. We could call it, among other things, the bill to protect Canadians against cybercrime.

This bill focuses on cyberbullying and bullying, something that I feel very strongly about. I have worked on this almost since I became an MP and even before that. I am the father of two daughters, one in elementary school and the other in high school. Thus, I am very concerned about the issue of bullying and cyberbullying. Furthermore, I was formerly a teacher. I was a high school and adult education teacher for almost 10 years.

I realized that bullying and cyberbullying are very important concerns. We have to tackle them and work on prevention. In fact, prevention is the first thing we must work on. This bill provides for solutions once the damage has been done, but we also have to work on prevention.

In that regard, even before I start talking about the bill, I would like to point out that the NDP is leading the fight against bullying. Two NDP members did an excellent job of bringing this subject to the attention of the Conservatives, who really did not have this on their radar. The first, the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, worked very hard after being elected to introduce a motion, which unfortunately was defeated by the Conservatives. I still cannot believe what happened. It is mind-boggling to see all that.

What is important is that this motion was about a bullying and cyberbullying prevention strategy. The strategy was very well laid out. I will come back to that later because it really is an important element that the Conservatives should take a look at.

There was also the bill introduced by my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, Bill C-540. I still do not understand why the Conservative did not vote in favour of this bill. I do not understand why they voted against it, since the main provisions in that bill can be found in Bill C-13. We could have saved some time if everyone had supported the bill introduced by the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, which could have been sent to committee to be amended. That is what democracy is about. We fully support democracy.

However, it is completely unacceptable that the Conservatives voted against the bill and have now introduced a very similar bill. Furthermore, they are turning it into a partisan issue by saying that the Conservatives are the ones who drafted this bill and that they are very good.

It is sad to see this kind of partisanship in the House of Commons, especially on such an important issue. We are talking about the future of our youth. Young people are our future. We need to take care of them because our wealth lies in them. We need to pay attention to them and combat bullying and cyberbullying. This should not be a partisan issue. We should have been able to address this problem, which transcends party lines.

I am very disappointed that we were not able to move forward with these bills.

Before I go into more detail on Bill C-13, I would like to commend some groups in my riding of Drummond for the work that they have been doing day in and day out for years. Recently, in 2012, there was a big event to provide information, promote awareness and speak out against bullying.

All of the groups in the greater Drummond area that work every day on these issues were there. Sometimes large events like this are organized, but most of our organizations' work is done on a day-to-day basis.

The anti-bullying committee, which is part of the anti-violence committee, welcomed representatives from Sûreté du Québec, the Commission scolaire des Chênes, Collège Saint-Bernard, CALACS La passerelle, CAVAC, École aux Quatre-Vents—which has shown great initiative in the fight against bullying—Buropro, Commun Accord, the Association québécoise de défense des droits des personnes retraitées et préretraitées, the CSSS and others. Many concerned people in the greater Drummond area came together in the fight against bullying and cyberbullying. This was a major gathering in the greater Drummond area.

Earlier, I listened to the excellent speech given by my colleague from Sherbrooke. I also listened to the very heartfelt and passionate speech given by my colleague from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, who has been fighting against bullying and cyberbullying for a long time.

The NDP members are the ones at the forefront of the fight against bullying and cyberbullying. That is why we are going to vote in favour of Bill C-13. However, we do so with a twinge of regret because we know that the Conservatives voted against a similar bill that we introduced.

This bill contains all sorts of measures. Unfortunately, the Conservatives use good bills that make sense, such as Bill C-13, as catch-all bills. This is what we call omnibus bills. They confuse the issue and therefore we do not know whether we will vote for or against the bill. If the fight against cyberbullying were the main focus of the bill, we would definitely have voted in favour of it.

What this bill is missing is a focus on prevention. I know how important that is from my experience as a teacher and a father and from listening to my colleagues, such as the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord. He proposed a strategy to combat bullying and cyberbullying. I would like to talk a little bit about it because it is extremely worthwhile. It is disappointing that the Conservatives voted against it, but it is not too late.

Front-line groups in Drummond and Sherbrooke are essential, as the member for Sherbrooke so rightly pointed out during his speech. They are the ones doing the work on a daily basis. However, the government must also stand firm at the national level, give good guidance and provide support.

I see that I have less than a minute to talk about this important, topical issue. The motion moved by the hon. member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord stated that the House should study the prevalence and impact of different types of bullying, including cyberbullying. It is important to understand what this is really about. Then, we need to identify and adopt a range of evidence-based best practices to combat bullying and cyberbullying. Finally, we need to promote and disseminate anti-bullying information to Canadian families.

Schools and organizations are important, but families are too. Parents have a role to play by talking to their children about the serious nature of what they are doing. Bullying and cyberbullying are serious and can have a serious impact on the community.

The organizations that are working on this issue in Drummond and Sherbrooke and across Canada need support.

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April 28th, 2014 / 5:55 p.m.
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Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the NDP would obviously like to change a number of things in the bill. Honestly, I must say that we do not have a lot of trust in the government, because it has rejected all the amendments proposed by the NDP in committee. I do not believe that the government will work with us on improving this bill and ensuring that the bill truly meets the needs of people who are bullied.

I would like to ask the following question. Why did the government not support the bill introduced by my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour? He introduced Bill C-540 to address cyberbullying. Why did the government wait for months instead of simply supporting my colleague's bill, which would have helped speed up the process?

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April 28th, 2014 / 5:10 p.m.
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Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak in support of this bill. In doing so, I wish to salute the leadership and thoughtful analysis that has been provided by my colleague, the member for Gatineau. As is so often the case in the House, I wish I could simply stand in this place and enthusiastically support this Conservative initiative, but once again the Conservatives cannot stop themselves from overreaching.

As others have noted in this debate thus far, the official opposition requested unanimous consent to have the bill divided into two parts and to allow the part that was initially introduced by my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, Bill C-540, the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, dealt with in one fashion, and ask that it be adopted as quickly as possible in committee because of all-party support. Why could this not be about that? Because it is about more than that. Other provisions from the defunct Bill C-30 should be studied separately, in the NDP's view, and given the attention that they so desperately require.

I am going to speak first about some of the cyberbullying issues, then focus upon what are called the lawful access provisions and the critique that so many people have made about those provisions, and then return in the few minutes available to the issue of cyberbullying, which is so critical.

Even in this fractured and divided Parliament, I cannot imagine many colleagues who would disagree with the need to better protect people of all ages from the distribution of intimate images without their consent. We have clearly heard from families, educators and law enforcement officials that there is a need to update the Criminal Code to address this kind of malicious activity. There seems to be no doubt about that. In fact, a few months ago I attended a presentation on Parliament Hill that was hosted by ResearchImpact, Canada's knowledge mobilization network group, that is seeking to maximize the economic, social, health and environmental impacts of research.

Among the presentations I heard in the Centre Block was one by a University of Victoria professor on a program that Professor Bonnie Leadbeater, a professor in the department of psychology at the University of Victoria, was involved in as a researcher. She is also the author and evaluator of WITS LEADS, an elementary school program, a program designed to bring together schools, families and communities to help elementary school children deal with bullying and peer victimization and to encourage adults to respond more effectively to children's requests for help.

This cutting-edge research by Professor Leadbeater and her peers has made a real impact across the country. In fact, for her work, Professor Leadbeater was awarded the Partnership Award by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research this past year. I am happy to see such important and applied research on bullying from my community and that it has had such national impact.

Therefore, it is unfortunate that the Conservatives are taking a straightforward issue that everyone supports and making it into something much more complicated than it needs to be. That is why the NDP has proposed the splitting of this bill, with all of its unanimous support, from those parts that are, frankly, much more controversial, as I will describe in a moment.

We all know that the initiative for Bill C-13 was the tragic events of the highly-publicized suicides of two adolescent victims of cyberbullying, Rehtaeh Parsons of Nova Scotia and Amanda Todd from my province of British Columbia. Frankly, the bill essentially repeats what my colleague, the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, had already put in his bill, as I said earlier, so obviously there is no issue of support. However, the scope of the application of Bill C-13 is so much larger and targets a whole lot of other issues that have nothing to do with cyberbullying, issues like access to bank financial data, the Terrorist Financing Act, telemarketers and the theft of telecommunications services. These are all in the bill before us today.

It is the issue of access and warrantless disclosure of personal information from Internet service providers to “lawful authorities” that is at issue for this other part, the larger part of this initiative, and it is that I wish to address now.

Many experts on privacy law have expressed great concern over this initiative. A famous privacy lawyer in Halifax, David Fraser, has expressed it as “really cynical and disappointing”, to use his words. He says that there is a whole bunch of irrelevant and other stuff in here that is going to distract from the legitimate discussion of how to fine tune it and get it absolutely right. He is, of course, right.

I would like to focus on the very current critique of the bill by Professor Michael Geist who is perhaps one of our most famous academics and practitioners in this field.

Professor Geist, the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law, is a professor at the University of Ottawa. To say he has written prolifically on this topic would be an understatement. As recently as two weeks ago, he wrote the following:

The debate over Bill C-13, the government's latest lawful access bill, is set to resume shortly. The government has argued that the bill should not raise concerns since new police powers involve court oversight and the mandatory warrantless disclosure provisions that raised widespread concern in the last bill have been removed. While that is the government's talking points, I've posted on how this bill now includes incentives for telecom companies and other intermediaries to disclose subscriber information without court oversight since it grants them full civil and criminal immunity for doing so. Moreover, newly released data suggests that the telecom companies don't seem to need much of an incentive as they are already disclosing subscriber data on thousands of Canadians every year without court oversight.

This is not an opposition politician speaking. This is probably the leading academic expert on this matter in the country who is bringing this to our attention. No wonder there continues to be great concern.

Professor Geist goes on to talk about the work that the Privacy Commissioner is doing, the recommendations she has released designed to enforce privacy protections in the age of cybersurveillance and a report that includes recommendations for reform to our private sector privacy law to:

—require public reporting on the use of various disclosure provisions under PIPEDA where private-sector entities such as telecommunications companies release personal information to national security entities without court oversight.

That is what is before us.

Civil liberties groups and academics sent a public letter to the various leading telecom companies asking them to shed new light on this policy of data retention and sharing policies. The claim is that our role in the whole surveillance activity remains a bit of a mystery, but there can be little doubt that Canadian telecom and Internet companies play an important role as intermediaries that access, retain and possibly disclose information about their subscribers' activities. These are the kinds of concerns that have so many Canadians continuing to be concerned.

I would like to read another quote into the record from Professor Geist. He says:

In fact, Bill C-13, the so-called “cyberbullying” bill, includes a provision that is likely to increase the number of voluntary disclosures without court oversight since it grants telecom companies and Internet providers complete immunity from any civil or criminal liability for those disclosures....The privacy implications of this secret disclosure system are enormous...

I wholeheartedly support the initiative on cyberbullying. However, once again, I wish the government did not overreach and go into this area of lawful access, which causes so much concern in the communities across the country.

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April 28th, 2014 / 5:05 p.m.
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Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, everyone in the House agrees that this is a crucial issue. There have been some very serious tragedies across Canada, including what happened to Rehtaeh Parsons last year. We all want to work together.

Why did my Conservative colleague not support Bill C-540, introduced by my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, which would have achieved the consensus of the House and would have allowed us to tackle the bullying problem right away?

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April 28th, 2014 / 4:55 p.m.
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Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Sherbrooke for his eloquent speech.

I would like to come back to something he mentioned in the answer he just gave to the member opposite. The member opposite is criticizing the NDP for not wanting to pass certain aspects of the bill we are discussing today, which have been controversial since Bill C-30 was introduced. My colleague already addressed this issue in his speech.

The Conservatives' attitude toward today's debate is the same attitude they adopt every time we try to make amendments to a bill.

My colleague from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord proposed a national bullying prevention strategy that was defeated by the Conservatives, who wanted nothing to do with it. What is more, my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour introduced Bill C-540, which received broad support. However, the Conservatives decided not to do anything about it and to instead develop a much more complicated bill to try to pass measures that Canadians do not agree with.

I would like my colleague to elaborate on how the NDP's approach is a much better way of finding a real solution than the Conservatives' divisive approach. I would like him to explain a bit more about the advantages of working together in the House, rather than trying to divide people, as we unfortunately see with all of the bills that the Conservatives introduce.

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April 28th, 2014 / 4:40 p.m.
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Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues for their welcome this evening. I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-13. This bill is close to my heart, and it deals with a sensitive issue that can also be emotional for some of my colleagues.

I commend the government for introducing this bill to create a national strategy on cyberbullying and cybercrime, which could also be included. The NDP will support any measures that combat cyberbullying, as such measures are in line with our principles on the right to privacy.

Such measures are almost exactly what we need, in response to rapidly developing technologies that are changing the way young people interact with each other every day. I said that the measures were almost perfect because this bill contains one measure that is in line with a measure that we presented in the House. The rest of the bill still has several flaws, which I will talk about in my speech today.

We also regret the fact that it took a number of high-profile cases, such as the ones in Nova Scotia and British Columbia, before our government finally decided to take action to combat cyberbullying and bullying in general. Bullying is not restricted to the Internet. It can happen in person every day, especially at school.

We also regret that the Conservatives refused to support the sensible, direct and simple Bill C-540, introduced by my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour. It is odd that the content of the government's Bill C-13 is nearly identical to the bill we introduced that was not supported by the Conservatives. One has to wonder whether the Conservatives were playing politics. I will give them the benefit of the doubt. It is up to them to answer that question.

Two years ago, in the 41st Parliament, my colleague from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord moved Motion No. 385, which suggested that the government create a national bullying prevention strategy to address the issue of bullying in general—not just cyberbullying—but the motion was not supported by the Conservatives.

The Conservatives, who today are saying that they are the great protectors of our youth and that they want to fix the situation, actually had the opportunity to help us do that in the past. Unfortunately, they did not support us.

It is sad that the government sometimes seems to wait for tragic events to happen before taking action. We have also seen that with other files. We could prevent rather than react to these very tragic situations that often result in loss of life.

Therefore, we need legislation to prohibit the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. We support this part of the bill that will prohibit the non-consensual distribution of intimate images because we had proposed this same measure in 2013, about 10 months ago. The Conservatives did not support this measure then, but it is being reintroduced and we will support it. Had this been the only focus of the bill, we could have supported it right away. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

A number of things have also been included in Bill C-13, such as parts of Bill C-30. Members will recall that, in the first session of the 41st Parliament, if my memory serves me well, the minister of public safety—who is no longer an MP—introduced the now-defunct Bill C-30. This bill raised the ire of Canadians across the country. The minister was eventually forced to back down and withdraw the bill, dubbed the electronic surveillance bill. It was not well received by the public. As I was saying, the Conservatives eventually withdrew the bill.

Unfortunately, a number of the measures in Bill C-30, for which there was no consensus, are found today in Bill C-13. That is one of the reasons why we cannot support this bill in its current form. We will support the bill at second reading in order to try to fix the bill in committee. However, as we told the government, we would have been open to splitting the bill in order to study only the part that members seem to agree on and to pass it quickly. We could then have focused on the somewhat more contentious parts.

Bullying is a very important issue that particularly affects youth aged 12 to 14. According to research, they are the most likely age group to be victims of cyberbullying. This scourge has a serious impact on the mental health and well-being of young victims. Studies are painting a negative and troubling portrait of the impact that cyberbullying is having on our youth. It results in anxiety, poor school performance, hopelessness and helplessness. It can also lead to very tragic situations, such as those we have recently witnessed.

According to the 2012 impact report by Kids Help Phone, cyberbullying victims and offenders are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide, unfortunately. That is a very worrisome finding.

When talking about bullying, we do not always mention the negative impact it can have on the victims who often find themselves in a very difficult situation. They clearly need help right now. That is why we support the first part of the bill, which would give those responsible for enforcing the law another tool to crack down on this scourge. We could bring those who hurt others to justice.

In addition, we realize that this issue affects far too many children in Canada. We also need to work on prevention. Punishing those at fault is not the only answer. We need to be proactive about preventing bullying before it happens. That is a foreign concept for the Conservatives. Often, they present measures that punish those in the wrong. That is fine, but we also need to put plenty of effort into preventing cyberbullying to simply avoid having victims. If we successfully prevent it, we can reduce the number of victims because some crimes will not happen in the first place. It is more important to prevent it before it happens, especially given the negative impact it can have on the victims. That is all the more true today, in 2014. Young people are increasingly exposed to new technology through the Internet. This means that, in some cases, they are now being bullied not just when they are in the schoolyard but also 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

I am ready to answer questions.

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April 28th, 2014 / 4:10 p.m.
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Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak 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, the protecting Canadians from online crime act.

It will come as no surprise that I will be supporting the bill at second reading. There are elements in the bill that I think we have waited too long to implement. At the same time, we have to be very conscious that when we deal with legislation, it needs to be concise but it also needs clarity.

I wonder what kind of message we send to Canadians when the title of a bill has so many components that it leaves many people wondering what the bill is really about. The fact that there are so many subheadings to the bill shows that it is not just looking at cyberbullying and consequences to update our legislation. This is another example of legislation where the government has cobbled together various pieces of its agenda and thrown in something on which I would say we have unanimous agreement.

We did request unanimous consent that the bill be divided to allow similar provisions from our colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, who, by the way, has done amazing work on this file, that is Bill C-540, and the aspect that relates to the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. We asked that it be adopted rapidly in committee, since it has all-party support.

This is where frustration sometimes sets in this House. This is something we could have done, all-party, everybody in agreement, with that particular component of this legislation. We are all in agreement. We could have separated it and passed it; I believe that component has been debated many times. Then we could have spent our time debating the rest of the bill.

There are some problems with the rest of the bill, but that part of the bill that encompasses Bill C-540, the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, could have been adopted unanimously and it could have gone on to the next stage.

I urge my colleagues across the way to consider doing that. They have a majority and could make it happen. They would certainly get consent from our side to separate it that way. We could get something moving in a very timely manner.

The world has changed since I went to school. The kinds of bullying and activities in school are very different now. Bullying is bullying. However, we have different types of bullying. There was a time that if an individual were bullied by somebody at their school, they had to write them a letter. That would happen very rarely because they did not want to get caught, or they would bully the individual to their face. With cyberbullying now, people can bully an individual 24/7 using social media.

I am often amazed at how many of our youth have cell phones. They are not just phones; all of the social media and the Internet are on there. Our youth are very actively engaged. They carry their phones with them, which brings the bullying right into their homes, 24/7.

By the way, I am not saying that we should ban all cell phones for young people. I can see our young people in the House looking at me, wondering if that is where I am going. Not at all. However, I am saying that because technology has changed how our young people interact with each other, so must our legal system. However, we have seen the shortfalls of our legal system. It was not equipped to deal with some very tragic circumstances. Because of that, we have to update our Criminal Code and law enforcement.

However, more than anything, I think we also have a responsibility to educate. Media literacy is very important. We taught children, long before we had all this technology, how to communicate in a positive way and not to hurt each other's feelings. In a similar way, I think our schools, as well as parents at home, have to work with our young people to teach them ways to manage this new world. Even though we may not live in that world, we have to help to construct a safety net for our students and young people, which is what this legislation is all about.

Months ago, we could quite easily have separated and dealt with cyberbullying in the bill proposed by my colleague, the incredibly hard-working member of Parliament for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour. Instead, here we have a very complex bill, which will now take time. Some of my colleagues will say that it does not have to take time if we agree to everything that is in the new bill. However, I cannot. There are problems with many parts of the bill before us, and I know we will be bringing amendments when it gets to committee stage.

I always want to use the word “student”. Being a teacher all of my life, that is how I think. However, for our young people, we have to do the responsible thing and try to take the politics out of dealing with this safety issue. This is an issue that has been sensitized because of a number of recent tragedies. I have talked to young people who have told me how terrible it is and how alone they feel when they have been bullied through cyberspace.

I would not say that words do not hurt because they do hurt. I can remember being at school when people got yelled at, and I could see the look of hurt on their faces. Sometimes they were beaten up because children can get into fights. However, what we are seeing with cyberbullying right now is that it is 24/7, and there is no escape.

We know the young people who are vulnerable. We know that it is people from, let us say the gay and lesbian community, the students who are not out. Even the students who are out can also become a target, through the use of anonymity and fake IDs that people can create in this world.

However, to quote the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario on Bill C-13, “the federal government is using this pressing social issue as an opportunity to resurrect much of its former surveillance legislation, Bill C-30”.

We remember when a certain minister was told what was thought of that bill. They feel that this proposed legislation is a resurrection of that bill and the government is trying to sugar-coat it by throwing in a much-needed bill to protect our children.

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April 28th, 2014 / 12:55 p.m.
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Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague on the tireless work he does on behalf of transgendered people.

I feel it is important to mention during this debate that the NDP has tabled bullying prevention measures. I would like to mention the initiative of my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, who introduced Bill C-540, as well as the work done by my colleague from Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, who moved Motion No. 385 to create a national bullying prevention strategy.

We asked the Conservatives to work with us but, unfortunately, they played petty politics with this very important issue.

As my colleague mentioned, the government often uses its bills to impose measures that have nothing to do with the bill's objective. We have seen the same thing with omnibus bills.

Could my colleague explain the link between cyberbullying and the fact that this bill includes a two-year sentence for stealing cable signals?