Madam Speaker, I know my time is short this afternoon but I think we have heard some excellent commentary on the bill on this side.
I was somewhat troubled, though, to hear the comments from the Liberal member opposite reflecting the government's position on the bill. Primarily, it seems the one concern that the government has about the bill is the fact that someone may use someone else's equipment in purveying or getting hold of this grievous material and therefore the person who owns the equipment would be held criminally responsible.
If that is the only reason the government is considering not moving ahead on this important initiative, it is a very weak one. In Canada today we have laws in place that allow for the forfeiture of equipment and all that went into propagating hate propaganda. If we can do it for hate propaganda, why can we not do it for child pornography?
We have examples in other parts of the world. The United States has very significant forfeiture legislation which has been used to forfeit property, houses and things with relation to this kind of crime. Therefore it can be done and it has been done in other types of legislation.
To say we cannot move ahead on this because we have some confusion about who might be held responsible because of who owns the equipment is a complete sham, I would suggest, and a real disappointment.
There are many issues that come to the House that we have different positions or, but I do not think we have on the issue of child pornography. We owe it to the Canadian people, those who are watching and those who are concerned about this issue, to show some unity on this, move quickly and make Canada a place in the world where there is a zero tolerance policy for child pornography. This is one incremental step to move us that much closer to it.
It is disappointing to hear the government say that it wants to put up some little roadblock to stall this when it could move ahead, particularly when we had the minister say that she wanted to move ahead with legislation to tighten up the whole cyber-stalker situation whereby people are luring children into this on the Internet. It is an excellent initiative. What an excellent time to integrate this improvement, plug the loop-hole that was missed and solve both problems at the same time. I encourage cabinet and members opposite to rethink their position and integrate this as quickly as possible.
I had that experience myself when I brought forward a private member's bill to the House. It allowed children's organizations to have access to the pardoned records of convicted pedophiles. We had unanimous agreement on this side of the House. The cabinet voted against it, but the majority of backbench Liberals voted with the bill. Eventually it went to committee and we had everybody onside. Then the government brought forward a bill much like mine, we made improvements to it, it went through the Senate and has now become law.
In the House there is agreement on this issue that in Canada we should have a zero tolerance policy. This bill is timely and is the kind of thing we can all agree on.
I remember that in the committee meeting, and I believe the hon. member opposite also remembers, we all decided to integrate my bill into the government bill, make improvements and send it back to the House with a recommendation that it go forward and become law. It was one of the few times that everyone around that table gave a round of applause and a cheer went up because we knew that we had done the right thing.
I suggest to you, Madam Speaker, to the House and to all who are listening that we quickly move on this bill. Let us do the right thing. Let us get it done and move ahead for all those people who have been concerned about the Sharpe case, which is still pending after almost two years, and who have been waiting to hear that possession of child pornography remains illegal in this country. It has been a shame for so long. Then all those people, almost 500,000 of them who signed those petitions that I delivered to the House, will start to see the House move on this issue and move quickly.
Hopefully the Sharpe decision will come down in the next few days. We have had enough doors being opened for child pornography in Canada. There is agreement in the House. There is clearly agreement across the land that we do not want it in Canada. Let us work together to make sure that we see that agreement acted upon and the doors closed as quickly as possible.