Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his commitment to this issue and for contributing to this important discussion.
I am happy to speak to private member's bill, Bill C-302, the stopping Internet sexual exploitation act, which was introduced by the member for Peace River—Westlock.
Bill C-302 proposes to amend the Criminal Code to create two new summary conviction offences that will criminalize making, distributing or advertising pornographic material for commercial purposes without first ascertaining that each person whose image is depicted in the material is 18 years of age or older and has given their written consent to their image being depicted. The bill would further authorize the court to make an order preventing an offender from using the Internet or other digital network, requiring the offender to ensure that the pornographic material at issue would no longer be stored on or made available through the offender's computer system and requiring the offender to remove the material at issue from the Internet or other digital network.
As its short title suggests, Bill C‑302 seeks to stop Internet sexual exploitation.
I know that we all agree that the Criminal Code must effectively criminalize all forms of sexual exploitation, especially when the offence involves producing sexualized images of children and distributing them on the Internet.
I am reassured to know that the Criminal Code already fully criminalizes such conduct through its provisions on child pornography, which define these terms rather broadly in order to include all forms of child sexual exploitation material.
Specifically, in the code, section 163.1 already prohibits making, distributing and advertising child pornography and prevents the accused from advancing a defence of honest but mistaken belief that the victim was 18 years or older, unless they can point to some evidence indicating that they took reasonable steps to ascertain that the person depicted in the material is 18 years of age or older.
Such offences are punishable by significant penalties, in fact penalties that are in excess of those proposed in the private member's bill, Bill C-302.
Also, section 162.1 of the code already prohibits the non-consensual distribution of images and authorizes courts to impose prohibition orders and warrants of seizure under sections 162.2 and 164 to stop the dissemination of child pornography and non-consensual intimate images, including on the Internet.
Again, I thank the member opposite for his commitment to this issue. I appreciate that he was indicating that regulating the Internet and spaces online is important, as are takedown provisions, but what I am speaking about today is actually the Criminal Code provisions as they currently exist.
We do look forward to, however, examining Bill C-302's proposed reforms in the context of the existing criminal law framework to examine its potential impact on an already robust existing legal regime.